No need to refresh your webpage, that scoreline is indeed legitimate.
Manchester City and Chelsea matched up in the Super Sunday fixture, but it didn’t turn out to be much of a match-up, as City blitzed Chelsea away within 25 minutes, running out 4-0 – near unchallenged – victors at the end of the first half.
A lovely team goal finished off by Raheem Sterling preceded a 30-yard thunderbolt by Sergio Aguero which was followed up by a typical poacher’s goal by the Argentine to double his tally, before Ilkay Gundogan’s sublime curling effort finished off any chance of a Chelsea comeback.
The second half was a chance for Chelsea to salvage some pride, for the game had truly gotten away from them. However, Manchester City were not in a very generous mood, owing to Pep Guardiola’s views of goal difference likely to come into play at the end of the season. They went again, and this time were careful not to afford Chelsea even a sniff of a chance. They eventually ran out 6-0 winners as Aguero completed his hattrick and Sterling bagged a brace, with the only Chelsea effort on target in the second 45 coming from an edge-of-the-box free kick.
Chelsea’s dismal night may best be summed up by their dugout’s reaction to the full-time whistle. Maurizio Sarri stormed straight off to the dressing room, not even deigning to shake Pep Guardiola’s outstretched hand; a gesture that Gianfranco Zola subsequently seemed to apologise for.
The importance of Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan once more proved to be the catalyst who pulled strings from deep, drawing challengers in, freeing up space and playing the ball into green pastures. Between him and Fernandinho, City have got two players extremely comfortable on the ball, with an exquisite passing range. Further, his ability to take up spaces both deep and advanced, as well as his late runs into the box and ability from set pieces have provided City with a different dynamic, which they have exploited to rip Arsenal and Chelsea’s back lines to smithereens.
He is likely to be omnipresent in City’s starting XIs from now till the end of the season as they remain in direct competition with Liverpool and Spurs. A very different picture to what it was this time last campaign. Guardiola’s men cannot afford to slip up as if they do, the potential of retaining their title may just slip through their grasp.
Bernardo Silva and 10 others
Pep Guardiola once more reinstated the importance of Bernardo Silva in this XI, and the Portuguese exhibited why in a positional masterclass today.
Silva was the one in acres of space for City’s first goal. He evaded 5 Chelsea defenders to put a sumptuous pass in towards Aguero, who inexplicably missed from 4 yards out. He penned Marcos Alonso back and helped City get at him, whilst also helping out defensively whenever the situation demanded.
To top it all off, he finished the game in central midfield, and did not for a second look out of place. His ability to find space, his first touch and dribbling ability, work ethic off the ball and his versatility has essentially rendered him an irreplaceable asset for any big game.
Chelsea’s Final Third Problem
Gonzalo Higuain was by far Chelsea’s best player today. To be fair, he didn’t have much competition, but when he found himself in space, he was able to hold up play to a reasonable extent, and find his players will the occasional flick. Eden Hazard was neutralised reasonably well by Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva, and Pedro slowly faded out of the game after having two chances in the first half, both of which Ederson repelled.
With a large majority of Chelsea fans unhappy with Willian, Pedro in his absence didn’t provide too much of a threat either. Their attack against Arsenal looked void of ideas; they seemed to be trying the same thing over and over, crying out more for an individual spark of inspiration or a defensive error.
A creative midfielder I believe should be targeted in the summer, for a central midfield of Jorginho, Kante and either of Kovacic or Barkley doesn’t seem to be providing enough of a threat to opposition defenders, and they have enough time to face up to, perhaps double up on Hazard, and assuage the trouble.
Chelsea’s heaviest defeat in the Premier League era has left them below both Manchester United and Arsenal. The situation is eloquent of a scene from Batman’s ‘The Dark Knight’, in which the Joker leaves a single stick amidst 3 men, and asks for ‘try-outs’ to commence, for there was only ‘1 spot left’. Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are all in that very same position for that last top 4 spot.
With Arsenal playing United on March 10th, and Chelsea doing likewise at the end of April, these 2 fixtures could be of huge, huge importance. Outside of these, Chelsea play Liverpool, Arsenal play Tottenham, and United host City. The competition is becoming more and more severe with each passing week, and Chelsea’s goal difference’s nosedive may just have cut out whatever small advantage they had left.
With Manchester City passing their test with flying colors, there’s only one thing the City camp will say now – Your move, Liverpool (With the slightest hint of, “Over to you, United”).
Man of the Match – Sergio Aguero
Who else? This man cannot stop scoring and his hattrick equals Alan Shearer’s as the are tied for most Premier League hattricks with 11 each. The Argentine just continues to be Man City’s main main. As Gabriel Jesus looked to be a potential replacement he is made to wait until Aguero can no longer perform with the intensity that he does today.