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Chelsea sunk by City slickers

JOB DONE: City boss Pep Guardiola with
Kevin De Bruyne (right)

THE WARNING signs of their ominous power have been there for a while now, and this time Manchester City look like they mean business. Just ask Premier League holders Chelsea after City blew the Blues away with a display of high pressing, high tempo powerful football.

Kevin De Bruyne spent two years at Stamford Bridge, but was never really given a chance. Against his former side, the Belgian came back to spectacularly thump in the only goal of a pulsating game and earn City an impressive win to lift them to the Premier League summit.

The win meant a lot to the visitors and as Antonio Conte and his players digested the enormity of their second home loss of the season, his opposite number Pep Guardiola was hugged and high fived by his coaching staff at the final whistle. More worry for Conte with Alvaro Morata suffering a first half hamstring injury which looked serious.

There was £650 million of talent on the pitch. Morata made it 7 goals in his first 8 Chelsea games at Atletico Madrid, while Eden Hazard started his first league game of the season. Chelsea went into this fixture in good form having won 10 of their last 12 league matches.

For City, Raheem Sterling came in for Sergio Aguero who suffered fractured ribs in his car crash in Holland last week. With Benjamin Mendy out hail the new year with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Fabian Delph remained at left back the same position he played so well at against Shakhtar Donetsk in the week.

Chelsea were the only side to beat City both at home and away last season, but here City after a slowish start changed through the gears and with lethal affect.

Morata, and Cesar Azpilicueta were unable to capitalise on early chances and at the other end David Silva couldn't find the power or direction to trouble Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian keeper inexplicably fluffed a back pass from Antonio Rudiger and the alert Gabriel Jesus pounced to almost make Chelsea pay.

Perhaps the move of the half saw a swift City counter. Sterling's cross on counter was inviting, but zipped beyond the advanced Silva and Jesus. Courtois then got down to deny Silva from a stinging shot as City swarmed all over their hosts.

After 35 minutes Morata was taken off and Conte chose to bring on Willian rather than the Blues' hero against Atletico Michy Batshuayi. Chelsea's front line now lacked aerial menace as Hazard was pushed further forward. John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi won't have minded that at all.

Just before the break, City came again, and once again Courtois came to his side's rescue with a fine reflex save to deny Fernandinho' header.

Goalless at the break, the Blues were riled and emerged a good few minutes ahead of City for the second half. The visitors however just continued from where they'd left off. Leroy Sane had a case for a penalty having been nudged by Marcos Alonso, and Sterling then hit high when it seemed easier to score.

When Fernandinho caught Hazard, Chelsea's quickly taken free kick saw the Belgian hit low, but Ederson saved low down.

The red current City shirts sensed their chance would come. They went close when Alonso blocked to save Chelsea from Silva's shot and then De Bruyne's cross had Courtois struggling.

When Otamendi fed De Bruyne from his own half, the Belgian pounced to play and neat give and go with Jesus before then firing last Courtois for a finish which City thoroughly deserved. As Guardiola celebrated, Conte looked crestfallen. His woes were almost compounded when Jesus saw his effort headed off the line by Rudiger as the Blues struggled to comprehend what was happening.

On this form, City will take some stopping. Despite there being no Aguero, no Vincent Kompnay and no Mendy, for City it seems as it'll be no problem. The rest of the Premier League will have taken note.

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