City thump Chelsea 3-1 at Bridge
LONDON, England (AP):
Manchester City left Chelsea in disarray by sweeping to a 3-1 victory yesterday with a ruthless attacking display that consigned Frank Lampard’s team to a fourth loss in their past six English Premier League (EPL) games.
İlkay Gündoğan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne scored in a devastating 16-minute first-half spell as City rose to fifth in the standings despite coronavirus cases depleting the squad.
Chelsea are only three points behind City but have played two games more, and the manner of this defeat will be alarming to notoriously impatient owner Roman Abramovich.
The absence of any crowd at Stamford Bridge because of coronavirus restrictions spared Lampard from any negativity from his own fans at least.
City had been missing five players due to coronavirus infections, and there was off-field tumult in the build-up to the game caused by defender Benjamin Mendy breaching pandemic restrictions on inter-household mixing by holding a New Year’s Eve party.
With Ederson in isolation recovering from COVID-19, goalkeeper Zack Steffen started his first EPL game. It was a nervy start for the 25-year-old American, earning a booking for handling outside the penalty area after five minutes.
But thanks to City’s scintillating forays forward and Chelsea’s attacking deficiencies, Steffen wasn’t tested.
Instead, it was opposite number Edouard Mendy picking the ball out of his net three times.
In the 18th minute, Foden received a pass from De Bruyne and teed up Gündoğan on the turn to net his third goal in four games.
City was in devastating form, orchestrated as so often by De Bruyne, with less than three minutes between the opening two goals.
An initial cross from the Belgium playmaker was intercepted by Thiago Silva, but he regained the ball to set up Foden for the second. It was a slick final touch from Foden that allowed him to beat Mendy at his near post.
Chelsea were in disarray.
The third was started and completed by De Bruyne. He headed to Sterling to launch a breakaway down half the length of the pitch unchallenged before hitting the goal frame with a shot. By that time, De Bruyne had arrived to meet the rebound in the 34th minute.
Only Mendy’s quick reaction in the Chelsea goal prevented a close-range header from Rodri going into the top corner at the start of the second half.
Rarely have City been so untroubled in a game against Chelsea, who endured another disappointing game in front of goal from striker Timo Werner.
There was consolation in stoppage time with Callum Hudson-Odoi netting from Kai Havertz’s cross.
Yesterday’s EPL results:
Newcastle 1-2 Leicester
Chelsea 1-3 Man City
Southampton v Liverpool 3 p.m.