Runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City moved in closer to their fourth Premier League title in five years as they opened up a 13 point gap at the top, beating second-placed Chelsea 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
Thomas Tuchel brought his team to Manchester, hoping to reproduce his team’s last season magic against the hosts when they had beaten Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side three times in as many meetings, including a historic Champions League final victory.
The Citizens had already won against Chelsea this season, however, when they won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in September in the reverse fixture.
City dominate first half
City’s second successive win against the Blues virtually ended Chelsea and Liverpool’s already vague ambitions of catching up unless the Mancunians suffer a tremendous dip in form and surrender their lead in the remaining stages of the competition.
Chelsea put on a good defensive display to frustrate the home side, but they nearly gave it away towards the end of the first half as Mateo Kovacic lost the ball to Jack Grealish right outside the Chelsea box.
The £100m summer signing could not make the best out of the situation, however, and shot straight at Kepa Arrizabalaga.
City had dominated the ball from the start, but it was the first clear chance they had to score.
Chelsea were so busy defending that they did not register a single shot in the first half.
It was the first time the reigning European champions failed to take a shot in the opening 45 minutes since Tuchel’s arrival.
Chelsea attack in second half
The visitors compensated for their first-half silence with a series of attacks right after the restart.
The best chance fell to Romelu Lukaku, who chased down a brilliant through ball from Kovacic.
But, Ederson did everything to right to deny the Belgian his sixth Premier League goal of the season.
But, Kevin de Bruyne made the difference in the 70th minute as he drifted away from N’Golo Kante and drilled an 18-yard screamer past Kepa into the Chelsea net.
It was the midfielder’s fifth goal against his former employers.
Chelsea rarely threatened after the goal and City concentrated more on preserving their lead rather than going for a second one.
As a result, the match ended in 1-0 for the Citizens.