Man City 1-0 Chelsea: Player rating

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Manchester City opened up a lead of 13 points at the top of the table with a tight but well-deserved 1-0 victory at home against runners-up Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.

The Premier League’s leading duo played an insecure competition where each side was very aware of the threat that both could offer each other.

The hosts had an expected dominance of ball possession but Chelsea kept a high starting position off the ball to start the match and blocked City’s passing lanes instead of tearing around the pitch. Romelu Lukaku even had the first chance of the match, dumping John Stones on the lawn and driving through a Ruben Dias-loose defense but missed the opportunity to shoot.

It would prove one of the few openings that Chelsea had to push off in a half that ended without the visitors trying a single shot.

City grew into the match and gradually forced Chelsea deeper and deeper – but were frustrated by the visitors’ clogged back edge. It took a mistake from Mateo Kovacic, when Chelsea were finally caught by City’s high pressure, to tee up Jack Grealish on the verge of half time. But Kepa Arrizabalaga almost managed to distort his body to tip Grealish’s worn effort around the post.

Chelsea belatedly warmed up the gloves on an underworked Ederson after the break. Kovacic slipped Lukaku through on goal, but City’s Brazilian guard reacted quickly enough to knock off Chelsea’s first try of the match.

After eight days of rest – compared to Chelsea’s three – City kept their intensity off the ball. Kevin De Bruyne had to make a substitution after 70 minutes. De Bruyne avoided N’Golo Kante’s outcome and drove to the edge of Chelsea’s box, bending in a fantastic opening goal.

Chelsea huffed and puffed but City kept the European champions at arm’s length in a victory that widens the abyss up to first place.

Ederson was forced to an excellent stop by Romelu Lukaku / Laurence Griffiths / GettyImages

Ederson (GK) – 8/10 – After watching the first half, City’s goalkeeper remained sharp enough to deny Lukaku an unorthodox approach.

Kyle Walker (RB) – 6/10 – Walker were relying on their ability to counter-attack.

John Stones (CB) – 7/10 – Lost an early duel with Lukaku but was not confused afterwards.

Aymeric Laporte (CB) – 7/10 – Played an impressive role halfway through the run-up to City’s goal, and blocked Timo Werner’s effort from close range.

Joao Cancelo (LB) – 7/10 – A regular stream of cuts with characteristic inverted passes.

Bernardo Silva turns away from Hakim Ziyech / OLI SCARFF / GettyImages

Bernardo (CM) – 6/10 – Bernardo played in and out of the competition and played a more reserved role, which allowed those like De Bruyne to move forward.

Rodri (CM) – 7/10 – City’s defensive screen sweeps secretly behind their midfield colleagues and put barely a foot wrong.

Kevin De Bruyne (CM) – 8/10 – A nagging threat with his patented untracked arrows into the box but equally crucial was his impressive role off the ball in a performance that received standing ovations.

Jack Grealish missed the first half’s biggest chance / Laurence Griffiths / GettyImages

Raheem Sterling (RW) – 7/10 – Made a straight line for Marcos Alonso at every turn and turn but dragged his clearest view of goals outside.

Phil Foden (ST) – 5/10 – The foot let in directly into the midfield and was not overwhelmingly influential in the attacking third.

Jack Grealish (LW) – 4/10 – Saw a lot of the ball but was regularly rejected by the impressive figure Antonio Rudiger.

84. King Kev makes room! ?

? 1-0? #ManCity pic.twitter.com/y7pV6eJOeg

– Manchester City (@ManCity) January 15, 2022

Ilkay Gundogan (CM) – 6/10

Gabriel Jesus (LW) – N / A

Kepa Arrizabalaga filled in for the absent Edouard Mendy / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / GettyImages

Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) – 7/10 – Shanked an early approval in his defender’s midfield but spread well to deny Grealish.

Antonio Rudiger (CB) – 7/10 – Rudiger played on his natural but unfavorable side of the back-three and was as dominant and robust as ever.

Thiago Silva (CB) – 6/10 – Quickly back into the starting lineup, Silva Foden gave a long leash but always seemed to have control over City’s false nine.

Malang Sarr (CB) – 5/10 – In just his second Premier League start ever, Sarr did a great sliding challenge on Sterling but was shaky in possession.

Mateo Kovacic (left) keeps out Raheem Sterling / OLI SCARFF / GettyImages

Cesar Azpilicueta (RWB) – 4/10 – On the rare occasions that the Chelsea skipper ventured forward, he slowed down the attack more often than not.

N’Golo Kante (CM) – 5/10 – Shook around the field with a remarkable coverage, but the only tackle he missed turned out to be expensive.

Mateo Kovacic (CM) – 5/10 – Repeatedly, the player who was commissioned to try the line-breaking pass in Chelsea’s build-up had mixed successes with this risky role.

Marcos Alonso (LWB) – 4/10 – After receiving an early yellow card, Alonso’s fight when he was isolated with Sterling gained a disciplinary advantage.

Romelu Lukaku entered the competition with two goals in his last Premier League matches / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / GettyImages

Christian Pulisic (RW) – 4/10 – He barely registered any impact before he was the first blue to be hooked.

Romelu Lukaku (ST) – 3/10 – Cut an isolated figure repeatedly as City’s dominance grew.

Hakim Ziyech (LW) – 4/10 – Induced his manager’s anger for a criminally unsuccessful pass with Lukaku lurking on the last line – an act that symbolizes a frustrating performance.

The second change caused Cal to record.

? 1-0? [70’] #MciChe pic.twitter.com/8cJcHcgI1t

– Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 15, 2022

Callum Hudson-Odoi (LW) – 5/10

Timo Werner (RW) – 5/10

Mason Mount (CM) – N /A

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