November 2016 - Reports
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Hull City 0 Manchester City 3    City Tame the Tigers
Saturday 26th December 2016 : George Symons for GYKO at KCOM Stadium

This was a third win in succession for Manchester City and, while not a vintage one, Pep Guardiola will take much solace from his side’s renewed resolve in recent weeks. Yaya Touré and Kelechi Iheanacho were the City names on the score sheet but the visitors seem mentally reinvigorated and far more assured in the face of direct and physical opponents.

Hull certainly provided such a challenge and credit must also go to them after matching their far wealthier adversaries for much of the game. In the end City’s greater quality saw them over the line, a Touré penalty, a fine team move finished by Iheanacho and a late Curtis Davies own-goal ensuring they finished Boxing Day second in the Premier League table.

Given that Sergio Agüero has been missing since early December and the nature of City’s defeat at Leicester two weeks ago, Guardiola can point to a tangible improvement in his side’s recent performances, even if this was not a classic. Hull battled well but they have now not won in seven league matches.

“The first half was quite good in terms of control, except in the last five minutes when we conceded a few stupid fouls and they created some problems with the quality of [Robert] Snodgrass’ set pieces. But we forgot in the first half where the goal was,” Guardiola said.

“Every time Ras [Sterling] had the ball it was pass, pass, pass and we don’t need Ras for the pass we need him for the one-on-one. In the second half he created the penalty, he created the third goal.

“We cannot forget that we’ve played seven games [this season] without Kun [Agüero]. Gabriel Jesus is also coming so we will have two to three strikers with a sense of the goal. It’s so important, especially in games like this.”

John Stones returned to the City starting line-up but the defender lasted only 18 minutes before a kick to the knee forced him off, although Guardiola suggested the injury could be serious. Aleksandar Kolarov slotted in at centre-back but neither side produced many moments of fluency during a drab first half.

City had more of the ball but Hull were relatively solid in defence and limited their opponents to speculative efforts early on. Guardiola had selected a team without a striker once again – with Agüero serving the final match of his four-game suspension – so Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Nolito and Raheem Sterling regularly switched positions in a fluid attacking set-up.

Both teams, though, began the second half with more intent. Sterling had an enticing cross-shot palmed away by David Marshall before Hull started to press. Harry Maguire found himself in an attacking position and crossed from the right to the far post, where Sam Clucas met the ball with a half-volley that was blocked well.

A swift break from City so nearly resulted in the opening goal in the 53rd minute, De Bruyne eventually receiving the ball down the left before cutting inside and firing a low effort on to Marshall’s right-hand post.

Hull then came extremely close themselves. A series of crosses into the box had pinned City in and when Michael Dawson met a high ball with a looping header he seemed to have directed it superbly over City’s goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo, and into the net, only for Bacary Sagna, in a fine position on the line, to clear the danger.

Guardiola sent on Iheanacho in place of Nolito with just over half an hour remaining but it was Sterling who had the decisive impact. After 72 minutes the England forward darted inside from the right and was brought down in the penalty area following a clumsy sliding challenge from Andrew Robertson. There were no complaints from Hull and Touré stepped up to finish emphatically from the spot.

The second, which killed the game six minutes later, was a fine team move. De Bruyne glided forward, waited calmly before playing a precise pass right to Silva, who then cut an excellent ball across goal for Iheanacho to finish into an empty net.

Davies’ late own-goal – the result of a rapid Sterling break down the left – rubbed salt into Hull’s wounds. Mike Phelan, the Hull manager, said: “It is harsh because a lot of work went into that game from our players today. We suffered through elementary errors which we have to stop doing if we are to progress in this league.

“I thought the way we went about our work today was commendable,” Phelan added. “The critical part is when you make those individual errors and they cost you. But I’m not going to look for a scapegoat. Andy Robertson has been terrific. It’s that youthfulness, maybe immaturity at times at this level. But I think he will come out of it for the better.

Hull City : Marshall, Maguire, Dawson, Davies, Elmohamady, Livermore (Henriksen 74), Huddlestone (Mason 63 Booked 82), Clucas (Diomande78), Robertson, Snodgrass, Mbokani.  unused subs : Meyler, Maloney, Jakupovic,  Weir

Manchester City : Bravo, Sagna, Otamendi, Stones (Kolarov 18), Clichy, Fernandinho, Y Touré, Sterling, Silva (Fernando 8), Nolito (Iheanacho 57), De Bruyne     Subs not used Zabaleta, Caballero, Jesús Navas, García

Referee: Robert Madley         Attendance: 23,134

Manchester City 2 Arsenal 1    Arsenal Gunned Down
Sunday 18th December 2016 : GYKO at the Etihad

There was a moment a little less than half an hour in when Pep Guardiola, shaped to pass a ball back into play, fell flat on his backside, to the collective mirth of the visiting contingent and, rather self-consciously, waved to them. Though he resumed his usual immaculate poise, the fall left a small stain of whitewash on the bottom of his coat.

We seemed to have witnessed an emblem of the fallibility of the manager who was supposed to walk on water and whose Manchester City side at that stage were a goal behind and threatening to suffer defeats to Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal in the space of 18 days.

All excitement about the subsequent turnaround must be tempered by an acknowledgement that they happened to be playing a side who now have sacrificed leads twice in five days and whose manager, Arsene Wenger, made the shocking admission on Sunday night that his side “dropped physically” in the second half – as if that was actually acceptable. City’s defence also looked profoundly vulnerable as they fell behind.

But the win revealed a steel which has not often been visible in City these past four or five years. It was the first time since the 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur here in November 2012 that they have overturned a losing half-time deficit to win. At the heart of the shift was Guardiola, making the almost imperceptible tactical shifts, such as withdrawing Kevin de Bruyne from the spear of the attack to overload the midfield and deploying both Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane in the pocket of space between the lines.

A squeeze on the accelerator pedal was really all Guardiola’s players needed to drive their opponents into the dust and transform a game in which they had no shots on goal in the first half and allow Arsenal, who should have taken confidence from that, none in the second.

Guardiola offered emotional thanks to the supporters for staying until the end, though the way his players started made the notion of them making it to the interval look a struggle. The players were distracted, arriving on the field sporting Ilkay Gundogan shirts worn back to front in recognition of his prolonged absence with cruciate damage of their teammate, who was injured on Wednesday. Was this necessary? All sense of perspective had seemingly vanished. “Awful start by City. Gundogan will be turning in his grave,” was one of the many memorable responses on social media as the game got under way.

Guardiola’s players could have done with saving their thoughts for how to shore up a defence that looks porous. The manager had retained the same back four for the first time this season, with John Stones still carrying the can for what happened at Leicester last weekend, yet there was a very familiar vulnerability when Arsenal scored, five minutes in. 

Hector Bellerin was able to take a ball rolled out to him from Petr Cech, advance unchecked, to the half way line beyond the jogging de Bruyne and locate Alexis Sanchez, who had time to execute a reverse pass of the finest geometry, which Theo Walcott, advancing unhindered from a position behind him, was able to take on and  sidefoot past Claudio Bravo with minimum power. “Sometimes you can’t control talent,” Guardiola reflected. But he goalkeeper committed himself dreadfully early and Nicolas Otamendi was pitifully unaware of Walcott’s run.

After Raheem Sterling criminally headed de Bruyne’s well weighted cross over, we witnessed an impressive Arsenal muscularity. Bellerin halted a Sterling run, Alex Iwobi quelled an advance from Leroy Sane, a Francis Coquelin tackle on Yaya Toure was timed to perfection and Laurent Koscielny demonstrated what good central defending looked like.

All this made Arsenal’s second half capitulation shocking to behold. The equaliser offered grounds for complaint. Sane, was fractionally offside when - after Arsene Wenger’s players had failed to gather a Cech clearance - David Silva seized the ball and played him in to run through and score.

Wenger was unhappy about the winner, too. The 40-yard cross-field pass from Kevin de Bruyne which supplied Sterling was even better than the Englishman’s dead-eye finish: a shot on the inside Cech’s post. Silva, in an offside position, ran in front of the goalkeeper at around the moment Sterling released his shot and though it was a very close call, Cech said on Sunday night that he was unsighted.

City ran amok after that, with Sane repeatedly running at the visiting defence with a pace that it could not deal with and it took Cech to keep the deficit respectable. The goalkeeper saved sharply from Sane just beyond the hour and palmed wide a De Bruyne shot which was deflected by Granit Xhaka.

The display left Guardiola talking of “fighting for the title,” though only when the defence is sorted out will the risk of falling on their backsides be fully removed.

Teams

Manchester City (4-1-4-1): Bravo; Zabaleta (Sagna HT), Otamendi, Kolarov, Clichy; Fernando; Sane (Navas 76), Toure, Silva, De Bruyne ( Iheanacho 84); Sterling. Substitutes: Caballero, Nolito, Stones, Iheanacho, Garcia

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin (Girond 75), Xhaka; Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi (Oxlade Chamberlain 65, subbed by Elneny 76) Sanchez. Substitutes: Ospina, Gibbs, Perez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Holding

Referee: M. Atkinson (West Yorkshire)  Attendance: 54409 

Manchester City 2 Watford 0           Watford's Gap
Wednesday December 14th 2016 : GYKO at the Etihad

In the sleek Guardiola era, narrow victories over the likes of Watford were not supposed to trigger feelings of relief around Manchester City.

These, however, have been a strange, stuttering few months at the Etihad Stadium and, but for Odion Ighalo blazing wide from six yards shortly before the end, the most unlikely statistic of Pep Guardiola’s time here – that City had not won a home league game since September 17 – might have endured. There was, nevertheless, a price to be paid for the points. Late in the first half, Ilkay Gundogan collided heavily with Nordin Amrabat and was forced off.

As it was, they were rescued by their old guard with goals from Pablo Zabaleta and David Silva, men who have endured the full range of emotions that Manchester City has to offer. Raheem Sterling might have wrapped matters up earlier but his shot skimmed the crossbar and then, once Ighalo’s chance had raised fears of another squandered opportunity, City broke away and this time Silva did not miss.

The match had been framed by Pep Guardiola’s pre-match press conference in which, following the 4-2 defeat at Leicester, the Premier League’s most unsackable manager had argued without any prompting that he could be fired. He might be sacked but not until City start having league derbies with Oldham and Kevin de Bruyne has been sold to Manchester United.

Nevertheless, the fact remained that Manchester City had not won a home game of any description since the triumphant evisceration of Barcelona on the first night in November. The casualty was John Stones, described by his manager at Everton as the best English defender since Bobby Moore - and there were times when you thought that for once Roberto Martinez was not exaggerating.

There was not, in truth, much defending to be done. The Watford manager, Walter Mazzarri, had made a big decision of his own. Troy Deeney, the club captain, who had not scored in eight games, joined Stones on the bench. His place went to Jerome Sinclair, who made his first start since joining from Liverpool in the summer.

Manchester City probed and prodded; Huerelho Gomes made a fine save from De Bruyne, some crosses whistled across the six yard line. However, Watford kept their shape and their discipline admirably.

They lost Roberto Pereyra when the game was barely half an hour old. The Argentine fell heavily in front of Guardiola on the touchline, who looked concerned and ordered his team to put the ball out of play. Some in the home crowd began booing and then when he collapsed again they booed him off.

It sounded untypically ignorant, perhaps born of frustration. It was still officially summer when they had last seen Manchester City win at home in the Premier League and Watford looked like being another team who would just manage to cling on at the Etihad.

Those who had travelled up from Hertfordshire knew they would do well to hold out indefinitely – Watford had not won in the blue half of Manchester since April 1987 when City were hurtling towards relegation. Their last journey to the North West had seem them thrashed 6-1 at Liverpool.

Two minutes after Pereyra’s substitution, they cracked. De Bruyne sent in a cross from the left that was meant for and missed Gundogan. However, it fell perfectly for Zabaleta who met the ball on the half volley at the far post.

The crowd erupted. It is hard in these days of image rights, bodyguards and limousines with darkened windows for fans to feel close to those they support but Pablo Zabaleta, the oldest of Manchester City’s old guard, is genuinely loved. When he ran to the stands clutching the badge on his shirt, it did not feel like faked emotion.

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Bravo; Zabaleta, Otamendi, Kolarov, Clichy; Gundogan (Fernando 44), Toure; Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva; Nolito. Substitutes: Caballero (g), Sagna, Navas, Sane, Stones, Iheanacho.

Watford (4-4-2): Gomes; Janmaat (Success 60), Prodl, Britos, Holebas; Amrabat, Capoue, Guedioura, Pereyra (Zuniga 31); Sinclair, Ighalo. Substitutes: Pantilimon (g), Kaboul, Deeney, Watson, Kabasele

Referee - Kevin Friend            attendance:- 51,527

Leicester City 4 Manchester City 2     Out Foxed
Saturday 10th December 2016 : Reg Howe for GYKO at the Kingpower Stadium

Jamie Vardy ended his goal drought with a fabulous hat-trick as a revitalised Leicester tore apart a dreadful Manchester City to leave Pep Guardiola facing searching questions.

Guardiola’s side played into the Foxes' hands and were cruelly exposed by a Leicester side who finally rediscovered the swagger of Premier League champions.

Vardy led the way, scoring a typical treble after 16 club appearances without a goal. But Leicester, for whom Andy King also scored a memorable goal, were aided and abetted by opponents who defended high up the field and left Vardy with the space he relishes racing into.

A shambolic defensive display from Guardiola’s men left questions still hanging over whether the Spaniard’s successful methods from Spain and Germany will transfer successfully into the Premier League.

They followed up a costly defeat to Chelsea last weekend with another chastening loss despite late goals for Aleksandar Kolarov and Nolito.

For Leicester, though, it was a hugely welcome return to form after a difficult defence of their Premier League title. The champions made a fabulous start as Vardy ended his long wait for a goal to cap an excellent move.

Riyad Mahrez produced a sublime touch to cushion a high ball into the path of Islam Slimani, whose sliderule pass for Vardy was almost as impressive.

The England forward drifted away from Aleksandar Kolarov and despatched a low shot past Claudio Bravo and into the bottom corner with a finish that showed none of his recent nerves.

Ranieri was still digesting that moment when, two minutes later, his team doubled their lead with another excellent goal.

Christian Fuchs’ long throw was headed on powerfully by Robert Huth and Slimani again provided the assist with a neat lay-off.

But the goal was all about King, whose curling strike from the edge of the penalty area flew in off the fingers of the despairing Bravo.

Things might have got even better for the hosts in the 12th minute when another header down from Huth found Slimani but the Algerian could not adjust his posture sufficiently to direct a shot on target.

Manchester City had barely stirred in the opening 15 minutes but they threatened Leicester’s goal when the home side failed to clear from the edge of their 18-yard box, allowing Kevin De Bruyne a shot that flashed a couple of yards wide.

That was a false dawn, however, and their gloom deepened on 20 minutes when Vardy added his second thanks in no small part to another moment of magic from Mahrez.

The PFA player of the year produced an outrageous touch to divert Christian Fuchs’ 50-yard pass perfectly into the feet of Vardy, who rounded Bravo and coolly slotted home.

It could have got even better two minutes later when a revitalised Mahrez weaved his way past a series of of defenders but saw his shot turned away by Bravo.

Manchester City screamed for a penalty in first-half stoppage time when Kelechi Iheanacho went down under a clumsy challenge from Marc Albrighton.

But their appeals were waved away and Leicester should have ended any doubt over the result seconds later when Albrighton’s cross found the unmarked Slimani, who headed wide with the goal at his mercy.

Early in the second half the visitors applied pressure on the hosts and they threatened to reduce the deficit in the opening moments.

Both Pablo Zabaleta and De Bruyne had shots blocked in a frantic goalmouth scramble with De Bruyne appealing half-heartedly and unsuccessfully for a penalty for handball against Fuchs.

Ilkay Gundogan then sent a shot just wide after a lay-off by Iheanacho as Guardiola’s side continued to peg back Ranieri’s.

But Leicester had the opportunity to settle any tingling nerves among their supporters when Slimani drifted into space in the visitors’ penalty area, only for his shot to be kept out by Bravo.

Vardy made it 4-0 on 78 minutes when he completed his hat-trick in trademark tenacious style.

He pounced on a dreadful pass from England colleague John Stones and scored from a tight angle with the goal awarded thanks to goalline technology.

And even a fabulous curling free-kick from Kolarov four minutes later to make it 4-1 and a side-footed finish by Nolito in the final minute could not spare their side from embarrassment.

Boss Pep Guardiola would not criticise his team's defending after they had found themselves two goals down inside five minutes.

He said: "We defended well with these players at the beginning of the season and we played good teams at the beginning of the season so now we have to analyse the mentality of players to make a step forward. All managers need time.

"We tried until the end, always in one game there are some good things but it's difficult at this level when it's 2-0 after a few minutes."

Leicester City (4-4-2): Zieler; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Mahrez (James 90+1), King, Amartey, Albrighton; Slimani (Okazaki 77), Vardy (Gray 88).        Subs not used: Chilwell, Musa, Hamer, Mendy.

Manchester City (4-1-4-1): Bravo; Zabaleta, Sagna, Stones, Kolarov; Fernando; Navas (Sterling 58), Gundogan (Nolito 68), Silva, De Bruyne; Iheanacho (Toure 58).      Subs not used: Caballero, Sane, Clichy, Abarabioyo.

Referee: Michael Oliver         Attendance: 31,966

Manchester City 1 Celtic 1     Honours Even in Battle of Britain
Tuesday 6th December 2016 : GYKO at the Etihad

This game may have been irrelevant in terms of final Champions League group standings, but it was not a wasted evening for Patrick Roberts. On loan from Manchester City to Celtic, Roberts scored against and frustrated his parent club to end Celtic's European campaign on a positive note.

City were already assured of second spot in Group C and Celtic bottom before kick-off here, but the numerous personnel changes by Pep Guardiola made for an open, even and entertaining match.

Celtic played with attacking verve and provided City with a constant threat. This was not the kind of dour and defensive display often seen in previous years by Scotland’s champions, but one that will give Brendan Rodgers much optimism going forward.

There were some scuffles between opposition supporters in the closing stages, but on the whole this was a match played in good spirits by two sides intent on scoring. Kelechi Iheanacho demonstrated his sharpness with the equalising goal, but Roberts was the one that shone and Guardiola cannot have failed to notice his future potential.

Roberts, signed by City from Fulham for £11m in July 2015 and having made one Premier League appearance as a substitute for the club, made his mark on the game after just four minutes, during a frantic start in which City’s three-man defence struggled to settle. Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna played either side of teenager Tosin Adarabioyo, but the new-look defence looked vulnerable early on.

Guardiola made nine changes from the weekend defeat to Chelsea and it took a few minutes until his players relaxed into the game. That was not before Roberts had demonstrated his qualities against his parent club, darting inside and beating Clichy for agility and pace before finishing coolly past Willy Caballero whose poor ball out gave Celtic the scoring opportunity in the first place.

Roberts was a constant threat and Guardiola could have been forgiven for pondering why this talented attacker was lining up in the black of Celtic instead of the Manchester blue. Leroy Sane, playing left wing-back for City, was regularly required to check back and keep taps on Roberts instead of making runs forward himself. He could have also had a penalty shortly before half-time, with Clichy appearing to hold him back on the edge of the area.

However, while Roberts shone throughout, Celtic's lead only lasted four minutes. Ilkay Gundogan – alongside Sane the only player who remained in the team from the Chelsea loss – started the move in central midfield, finding Nolito who split the Celtic defence with a precise through ball to Iheanacho. The youngster accelerated onto the pass and finished emphatically, into the top corner with the outside of his right foot.

Iheanacho is poised for an extended run in the City first-team following Sergio Aguero’s four-match suspension, and Guardiola will take heart from a performance that showed the striker is in sharp form.

In the 11th minute he flashed a left-footed effort wide after Pablo Zabaleta had put him through, and shortly before half-time he was denied a superb backflick goal by Craig Gordon’s excellent close-range save.

Celtic could have gone in front again had Moussa Dembele not sliced his shot into the side netting when rounding Caballero, but Rodgers’ side were playing with an attacking confidence that has become commonplace this season.

Tom Rogic flashed a shot over the crossbar in the 63rd minute as both sides sought an equaliser, the game open and quickly moving from one end to the other. Nolito had a goal ruled out for offside – just straying past the last man before finishing Navas’ low cross – and the substitute Leigh Griffiths scuffed a shot two yards wide in the 78th minute.

In the end there was to be no winner, but it was Celtic’s fans singing loudest at the final whistle.

Manchester City (3-5-2): Caballero; Sagna, Adarabioyo, Clichy; Maffeo (Navas 62), Sane, Gundogan, Fernando, Zabaleta; Nolito, Iheanacho. Subs not used: Gunn, Aguero, Stones, Otamendi, Tasende, Foden.

Celtic (4-2-3-1): Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Sviatchenko, Izaguirre; Brown, Armstrong; Roberts, Rogic, Forrest (Mackay-Steven 51); Dembele (Griffiths 73). Subs not used: De Vries, Toure, Bitton, Gamboa, McGregor.

Referee: Slavko Vincic        Attendance 51,297

Manchester City 1 Chelsea 3     Ref Justice
Saturday 3rd December 2016 ; GYKO at the Etihad

This was the first time Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte had ever met as managers and, if this encounter is any kind of benchmark, it might become the Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier of the Premier League

The match, which took Chelsea four points clear at the top of the Premier League, finished with the kind of brawl that Madison Square Gardens would have recognised. Deep into stoppage time, the contest between Sergio Aguero and David Luiz that had been one of the themes of the afternoon exploded.

The Argentine launched himself into a reckless tackle that provoked a mass confrontation between both sets of players. When the teams were pulled apart, Manchester City were down to nine men. Aguero was shown his second straight red card of the season which will earn him a four-match ban. For pushing Cesc Fabregas over an advertising hoarding, Fernandinho, who was also dismissed, faces any length of suspension. Manchester City finished a match they should have won beaten and embarrassed.

Had this been a boxing match, this would have been a knockout from the ropes. As he contemplated the match, Guardiola remarked that he was “curious” about the outcome. He sounded like a scientist about to conduct a laboratory experiment. You did not have to possess Guardiola’s knowledge of football to analyse the results.

Teams that do not drive home their advantages in possession and chances always risk defeat. Whether at Barcelona or Bayern, Guardiola’s rare defeats have come against teams that have known how to use the counter-attack and here all three Chelsea goals came from breakaways.

This was Chelsea’s eighth straight win and, like the last at home to Tottenham, Conte’s side had to come from behind against one of their title rivals.

This, far more than the Manchester derby in September, appeared like a contest between two clubs most likely to finish up as Premier League champions. Everything about the game from the first tackle by Nicolas Otamendi on Diego Costa that drew the first yellow card of the game to the cold-eyed way Willian put away Chelsea’s second felt intense. The game began at 12.30pm but the deep December gloom made it feel like an evening kick-off.

It was not the usual match at the Etihad Stadium, where the screens normally proclaim statistics showing that Manchester City enjoyed 70 per cent plus possession. This was an in your face encounter with space at a premium.

Injuries had forced both managers to make a change. The involvement of Fabregas, who had last started for Chelsea in September’s debacle against Arsenal, and Jesus Navas, who replaced Raheem Sterling, appeared to weaken both teams. In fact, both were involved in their sides’ respective opening goals while Navas should have had more than just the one assist.

The referee, Anthony Taylor, was surely right to dismiss both Aguero and Fernandinho but the interval had seen him booed off. There were two incidents. The first had come when David Silva had taken the ball past Gary Cahill, who had lost his footing and then appeared to touch the ball in the penalty area with his forearm.

Later in the first half, Aguero seized on a weak pass from Cesar Azpilicueta 35 yards out and then tried to take the ball past Luiz before falling. It appeared that Luiz had fouled him. It was a long way out but Luiz was the last man and Taylor must have considered a red card. To Guardiola’s fury, he gave nothing. The battle between the Argentine and the Brazilian simmered for the remainder of the match before boiling over completely.

Midway through the first half, Manchester City took control of the game with Thibaut Courtois tipping a fierce shot from Aguero over the bar and then, just as the interval beckoned, one of Navas’ less-threatening crosses was diverted past his own keeper by Cahill’s outstretched leg.

The quarter of an hour after the restart was the period when Manchester City ought to have won this game. De Bruyne forced Courtois into one save and then somehow deflected Navas’ cross on to the bar. In between Aguero had seized on a weak pass from Marcos Alonso, taken it past the keeper and only a diving block from Cahill stopped the second.

Almost immediately after De Bruyne’s miss, Chelsea equalised. A long ball from Fabregas was brought under control by Diego Costa, who out muscled Otamendi, turned and shot. Ten minutes later, Chelsea broke away again. A long pass from Costa found Willian clear on goal and the Brazilian did not miss. Guardiola responded by throwing on every available striker but once more Chelsea waited for the moment to strike and Eden Hazard’s goal was the cue for the stadium to empty. Those who remained saw what was a great footballing contest disintegrate into an open brawl.

Manchester City: Bravo; Otamendi, Stones (Iheanacho 78), Kolarov; Fernandinho, Gundogan (Toure 76); Navas, De Bruyne, Silva, Sane (Clichy 69); Aguero.    Substitutes: Caballero (g), Sagna, Zabaleta, Fernando.

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro (Willian 50), Costa, Hazard.
Substitutes: Begovic (g), Ivanovic, Oscar, Batshuayi, Chalobah, Aina.

Referee: Anthony Taylor         Attendance: 54,457

 

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