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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 24 July, 2019
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Hello! Welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of this afternoon’s clash at the Etihad between defending Premier League champions Manchester City and Chelsea.

It’s felt like every single game since the New Year has been hyped as absolutely crucial to the outcome of this season’s title race, but with two heavyweights on show today it does have a certain seal of extra intrigue and weight about it.

Liverpool and Man City fans alike will look at their opposite number’s remaining fixtures and try and see where each could potentially drop points. Following yesterday’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth at Anfield, Reds fans will be hoping and praying Chelsea can do them a favour.

Manchester City v Lyon - UEFA Champions League - Group F - Etihad Stadium Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Jurgen Klopp’s men were an incredible seven points clear a month ago, but Pep Guardiola’s side have eroded that lead considerably in the last number of weeks, even accounting for their shock defeat at the hands of Newcastle — which feels like a lifetime ago already.

With a win today, City will return to the summit of the Premier League, albeit with an asterisk beside their name having played a game more than their title-chasing rivals on Merseyside. While three points for Chelsea will see them overtake Manchester United and back into fourth place.

With titles and Champions League places on the line, this ought to be a good one. Kick-off is coming up in just over an hour’s time at 4.00pm.

Let’s get started with the team news…

So, today’s teams will line out as:

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling.

Substitutes: Danilo, Sane, Silva, Mahrez, Otamendi, Gabriel Jesus, Muric. 

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso, Kante, Jorginho, Barkley, Pedro, Higuain, Hazard.

Substitutes: Loftus-Cheek, Caballero, Kovacic, Giroud, Willian, Christensen, Emerson Palmieri.

It can feel like there is a massive gap between these sides in relative terms, one competing for the title and the other vying for a top four finish, but the last time these sides met it was Chelsea who came out on top.

Defeats have been few and far between for City this season in the Premier League (four in 26 games) but that 2-0 loss at Stamford Bridge showed some of the limitations of Pep Guardiola’s side.

The City boss has described today’s game as “a final” and has long been an admirer of Maurizio Sarri, especially during his recent time in charge at Napoli.

Huddersfield Town v Manchester City - Premier League - John Smith's Stadium Source: Mike Egerton

“At Chelsea, I understand what they want to do and they are doing it,” Guardiola said speaking earlier this week.

“Good organisation, offensive and defensive, they know what they want to do.

“It’s a final for us. We have to play in that way. We have played one more game. But we cannot deny it. A few days ago we could be seven points behind.” 

Right, with 45 minutes to before kick-off how do we see today’s game unfolding? Will Man City get revenge and return to the top of the table, or will Chelsea throw a spanner in the works of the title race. Let us know below.


Poll Results:

Man City win (173)
Chelsea win (66)
Draw (57)



Some pre-game reading material ahead of kick-off:

Flag 1Mins

KICK-OFF: We’re underway at the Etihad for the first half!

3Mins

The game’s first chance is Chelsea’s as Eden Hazard skips past John Stones with ease down the left wing. He finds oceans of space behind enemy lines and finds Gonzalo Higuain on the edge of the box with a low cross, but the Argentine’s first touch is too heavy and the ball is cleared away.

5Mins

GOOOOAL! Manchester City take the lead with their very first sight at goal after just four minutes. A free-kick played quickly finds Bernardo Silva unmarked, the Brazilian crosses all the way through the box where Raheem Sterling is completely free. Catching everyone off guard, the England winger has a free strike at goal and curls a brilliant effort past Kepa, into the back of the net. What a start!

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

7Mins

The City supporters burst into song as they anticipate what could be a very successful afternoon. Chelsea were like startled earwigs caught unaware at Kevin De Bruyne’s quickly taken free-kick and have paid the price. One shot for City, and one goal.

9Mins

MISS! Goodness me. Sergio Aguero with one of the misses of the season there. He was unmarked at the back post to latch onto Bernardo Silva’s cross, but somehow, somehow one of the best strikers in the history of the Premier League fires wide with an open goal in front of him. Pep Guardiola falls to his knees in amazement at Aguero’s sitter.

12Mins

Bernardo Silva applying a lot of pressure in the final third, causing all sorts of problems for David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger as they try to deal with a long ball punted into the Chelsea defence. City have started very, very well here. Full of energy.

12Mins

Eden Hazard rallies at the other end. He weaves and bobbles between a host of challenges and tackles, ducking and diving as City bodies try and force him off balance. Hazard gets to within shooting distance, but doesn’t have enough power in his strike to beat Ederson.

14Mins

GOOOOAL! Oh wow, what a bloody strike! Sergio Aguero makes amends for his earlier miss with an absolutely brilliant effort from the guts of 25 yards out. The Argentine cuts inside onto his favoured right boot and smacks a stunning shot right into Kepa’s top corner. An unstoppable effort and it’s 2-0 City after just 13 minutes.

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: Nick Potts

18Mins

Believe me, you’ll want to tune into Match of the Day later on just to watch that Aguero goal. Chelsea don’t know where to look at the moment. Sarri’s men began quite well on the front foot, but with just three shots so far Man City have struck two goals. Talk about clinical.

20Mins

GOOOOAL! This is turning into a hammering at the Etihad, as Sergio Aguero grabs his second of the afternoon already. Instead of a cracking individual strike, this one is gifted to the striker. An awful header by Ross Barkley trying to find Kepa falls short, with Aguero turning brilliantly to get to the ball first — firing a low effort into the back of the Chelsea net. Wow.

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: Nick Potts

26Mins

GOOOAL! This is absolutely incredible! Ilkay Gundogan gets in on the scoring action and it’s 4-0 to Manchester City with just 25 minutes on the clock. It’s another clinical effort from outside the box — the German midfielder curling a pinpoint strike low into Kepa’s bottom right corner. Amazing.

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

29Mins

Manchester City are playing champagne football at the moment and it’s getting a little embarrassing for Chelsea, who have no-where to look. Pedro and Eden Hazard offer something up front with a pair of half-chances which threaten Ederson, but Sarri’s side look a bit shellshocked out there.

34Mins

Chelsea have stabilised somewhat over the last few minutes, but you’d feel it’s more about damaged limitations than anything else. Bless them, Eden Hazard and Pedro have been running like madmen trying to force something, but it looks a little futile.

35Mins

Almost a chance as Cesar Azpilicueta gets down the right wing and provides a dangerous cross into the box. It almost falls on a plate to Gonzalo Higuain, but Bernardo Silva tracks back in time to provide the interception.

37Mins

38Mins

Strike! Higuain almost gets Chelsea up and running on the scoresheet with a driving volley from som distance. Ederson is a bit off his line, but does superbly to bend backwards and tip the ball over his crossbar. Fine shot, fine save.

44Mins

The half is slowly beginning to peter out now. Ironic as it sounds, Chelsea have been in control of the game since Gundogan’s fourth goal, but this goose has long been cooked. “You’re playing for your shirt now,” says Jamie Redknapp in commentary. 

45Mins

There will be two minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the first half.

45Mins

That was incredible. Four goals in the space of 25 minutes means this game looks all but done bar the most incredible of comebacks from Chelsea. Newcastle vs Arsenal 2011, anyone? In reality Pep Guardiola’s side have been on it to the max this afternoon, a brilliant double for Aguero after he missed an open goal, and one each for Sterling and Gundogan. You’d wonder what Maurizio Sarri will be saying to his men in the dressing room right now. More action come come shortly!

Flag 46Mins

SECOND-HALF: We’re back underway for another 45 minutes!

48Mins

Sergio Aguero puts David Luiz and Kepa under pressure inside the box and very neatly manages to get a toe on the ball. Will he complete another Premier League hat-trick? 

51Mins

Off the bar! Almost a fifth for Man City are they go in search of another goal right from the off in the second half. It’s that man Aguero again, he rises high like a salmon and smashes the bar with a powerful header.

53Mins

Substitution for Chelsea: Mateo Kovacic replaces Ross Barkley.

54Mins

Chelsea sitting deep inside their own half now, trying to hold on. Luiz and Rudiger are doing their best to keep some sort of a solid, defensive shape to try and keep this scoreline down.

56Mins

Sergio Aguero will have the chance to complete his hat-trick as Man City are awarded a penalty. Cesar Azpilicueta takes down Raheem Sterling as the England winger attempted to cut into the box.

58Mins

GOOOOAL! He makes absolutely no mistake, slotting the ball into Kepa’s bottom corner as the Chelsea goalkeeper dives the wrong way. It’s Sergio Aguero’s 11th Premier League hat-trick, equaling the record with Alan Shearer. Amazing.

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: Martin Rickett

59Mins

Kevin De Bruyne with a free-kick from outside the box which forces Kepa to punch clear. The Belgian international got plenty of height to bend the ball up and over the wall, but his effort was straight at the goalkeeper.

61Mins

It’s an onslaught now as Man City create chance, after chance. Raheem Sterling breaks free against a back-peddling defence, before offloading to his right where Aguero is free. He takes the ball inside the box, but his shot on his weaker left boot flies the wrong side of the post and wide.

65Mins

The home crowd sarcastically jeer as Eden Hazard looks like he found the back of the net with a left-footed effort, after a fine individual run — but he could only succeed in finding the side-netting for his efforts. It hasn’t been Hazards day, or anyone in dark blue really.

68Mins

Both sides emptying the benches now with just over half an hour remaining. The result of this game has been obvious for quite a while, with Pep Guardiola clearly keeping an eye on Man City’s European and FA Cup games in the coming weeks.

70Mins

A yellow card is handed out to Marcos Alonso for a sloppy foul on Bernardo Silva there. The Brazilian was dribbling through midfield before the Chelsea defender rashly left his boot on him out of frustration.

72Mins

Just on the pitch a matter of minutes, Rihad Mahrez tries to get in on the scoring action. He grabs the ball a good 25 yards out from goal and tries a pile-driver, but it’s a poor effort which flies well and truly over the crossbar.

74Mins

Gabriel Jesus flies forward with pace and comes one-on-one with Kepa, but the Spaniard produces an excellent save to keep it at five. The second half introduction has picked up where Aguero left off as City continue to try and add to their lead. No mercy at all.

78Mins

Another yellow card, this time it’s Ilkay Gundogan the man penalised by Mike Dean. The German was trying to track behind the run of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but clipped the Chelsea substitute at the bottom of his ankles right on the edge of the box. Another yard or two and it may have been a penalty.

79Mins

Eden Hazard stands over the resulting free-kick and manages to beat the wall, but his low effort flies right into the arms of Ederson standing on his goal-line. Either side of the goalkeeper and it would have been a goal.

82Mins

GOOOAL! Manchester City have found a sixth, and it’s a second of the afternoon for Raheem Sterling. Chelsea are carved apart once again down the left, Olexandr Zinchenko provides a low cross into the box and Sterling scoops the ball past Kepa.

Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

84Mins

There are so many layers to this result for Chelsea, not only handing over fourth place to Manchester United but also on the tenure of Maurizio Sarri, who has already been under some degree of pressure prior to kick-off today. It’s only his first season in charge, and you’d feel there are a lot of people involved with Chelsea who dread the thought of yet another managerial change at Stamford Bridge.

89Mins

Gonzalo Higuain fizzes a pass out to Loftus-Cheek and that passage of play only serves to remind a lot of us just how isolated he has been up front today. The Argentine scored an excellent brace Huddersfield last Saturday, but he has been a peripheral figure at the Etihad today. Those critics who say he goes missing in big games will be having a field day.

92Mins

There will be three minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the second half.

Well, there we have it. A phenomenal 6-0 display from Manchester City sees them return to the top of the Premier League on goal difference, but with an extra game played. Sergio Aguero nabbed his 11th Premier League hat-trick, there was a double for Raheem Sterling and one for Ilkay Gundogan too in what is Chelsea’s heaviest ever Premier League defeat. Thanks a million for joining us — you can read our full match report from today’s game here. Until next time, bye!

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About the author:

Aaron Gallagher

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