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Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City: 5 Talking Points as Guardiola’s men make an emphatic return to top-flight action | Premier League 2020-21

Manchester City cruised to a 3-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday
Manchester City cruised to a 3-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday
Vaibhav Joshi
ANALYST
Modified 05 Jan 2021, 21:14 IST
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Manchester City made light of a coronavirus outbreak in their ranks, that left them without a number of key first-team players, as they eased to a 3-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Despite the absence of several regular starters, City raced into a 3-0 lead with just over half an hour played thanks to strikes from Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, and former Chelsea man Kevin de Bruyne, who starred in midfield for the visitors.

Callum Hudson-Odoi pulled back a late consolation goal for the hosts but the damage had already been done, as Frank Lampard’s men slumped to their second defeat in their last three fixtures and stayed in eighth place in the standings.

City, on the other hand, secured their third straight win in the league and made their way up to fifth in the table, just four points off top spot with a game in hand.

On that note, here are the five major talking points from Manchester City’s emphatic 3-1 away win over Chelsea on Sunday.


#1 Illness-hit Manchester City struggle to make up the numbers

Debutant Zack Steffen was one of several enforced changes for Manchester City
Debutant Zack Steffen was one of several enforced changes for Manchester City

Ahead of a crucial Premier League clash with Chelsea, Pep Guardiola was given an unwelcome selection headache when it was revealed that several of his first-team regulars would be unable for selection.

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Right-back Kyle Walker, striker Gabriel Jesus, goalkeeper Ederson, and center-back Eric Garcia were among the high-profile absentees for Guardiola’s men for their trip to Stamford Bridge after a spate of positive COVID-19 tests swept through the City squad.

As a result, City handed a Premier League debut to American goalkeeper Zack Steffen and were left fairly short of substitute options, with the likes of veteran goalkeeper Scott Carson and youngsters Liam Delap and Taylor Harwood-Bellis warming the City bench.

Even though City were able to name a star-studded lineup for the game and welcome Sergio Aguero back to the fold, they would no doubt be hoping that all of their stars are able to make a swift return to first-team football with a backlog of postponed fixtures piles looming.

#2 Gaps starting to appear in Chelsea’s defence 

Chelsea
Chelsea's defence has been exceptionally generous in their last few games

Although Edouard Mendy was brought to Stamford Bridge to act as an alternative for the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga, few could have predicted the impact that the Senegalese international would have on a fragile Chelsea backline.

Along with fellow defensive signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell, Mendy struck up an instant relationship with his new teammates, resulting in a run of 5 clean sheets in his first 6 top-flight appearances that included 4 wins, 2 draws. A period in which just 1 goal was conceded.

It was their stellar defensive form that saw Frank Lampard’s men rocket up the Premier League table and led to conversations about the Blues being genuine contenders for the title.

Unfortunately for Chelsea, that initial defensive solidity seems to have taken a significant hit in recent times, as the side have shipped 11 goals in their last 7 Premier League games, a run that includes just one clean sheet, 4 losses, and a draw.

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The third goal against City, which resulted from one of Chelsea’s offensive free-kicks for which they left no one back to defend, epitomised the rapid decline of the defensive organisation that won them so many praises earlier on in the season.

As such, defence is definitely an area Frank Lampard will be looking to address in the coming games with his side suffering a slump in form.

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Published 05 Jan 2021, 21:14 IST
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