Manchester City laid down a marker in the title race with a hard-fought win at the home of the champions as former Chelsea player Kevin de Bruyne returned to Stamford Bridge to haunt his old clubs.
De Bruyne’s brilliant strike confirmed City’s dominance on the night, as their possession and passing threatened to overwhelm Chelsea at times. Indeed, it was only some typically dogged Chelsea defending that kept the score at 1-0, while the defending champions failed to test the City defence.
Here’s a look at how the players on both sides fared.
THIBAUT COURTOIS: Avoided potential calamity when Gabriel Jesus blocked a clearance, but made good saves from David Silva and Fernandinho. 6 (out of 10).
ANTONIO RUDIGER: The intensity of City’s press affected him. A few misplaced passes. 5.
ANDREAS CHRISTENSEN: Some glimpses of his potential on the ball and did well against Jesus. 7.
GARY CAHILL: A solid performance. Raheem Sterling had some joy down Chelsea’s left, though. 6.
CESAR AZPILICUETA: Switch to right wing-back saw him shut down City’s left, but denied Chelsea an attacking outlet on the right. 6.
N’GOLO KANTE: Performed well defensively, but did not have the attacking impact he did at Atletico Madrid. 7.
TIEMOUE BAKAYOKO: Subdued by City’s midfield as the visitors harangued their hosts. 5.
MARCOS ALONSO: Spent most of the game on defensive duty as City nullified his attacking threat. 6.
ALVARO MORATA: Had a half-chance snuffed out and showed signs of promise before going off with an apparent hamstring problem. 6.
EDEN HAZARD: Had some strong runs and one shot which tested Ederson. Isolated at times once Morata departed. 6.
CESC FABREGAS: Was never allowed to settle on the ball and toiled defensively. 5.
WILLIAN (for Morata, 35 minutes): Too many misplaced passes and not enough movement from the Brazilian. 5.
PEDRO (for Hazard, 73): Had little opportunity to make an impact. 6.
MICHY BATSHUAYI (for Bakayoko, 73): No chance to impress as City continued to push Chelsea back. 6.
EDERSON: Scrambled away Azpilicueta’s shot early on and pushed away Hazard’s effort in the second half. 7.
KYLE WALKER: Looks to be enjoying the extra freedom to given to him by his new coach. Excellent going forward. 8.
JOHN STONES: Continues to mature under Guardiola although this was one of his quieter afternoons. Successfully limited Hazard’s influence. 6.
NICOLAS OTAMENDI: Like Stones, he was perhaps fortunate to see the in-form Morata go off so early but there was little to criticise. A composed display. 6.
FABIAN DELPH: Could have been punished by Azpilicueta for failing to clear a deep cross late on but otherwise looked comfortable again in the unfamiliar position of left wing-back. 7.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE: Best player on the pitch. Involved in most of City’s chances until deciding the match himself with a brilliant long-range shot. 9.
FERNANDINHO: Powered a header towards goal in the first half but was denied by an excellent Courtois save. Dependable as always. 7.
RAHEEM STERLING: A constant threat down the flanks and, while occasionally wasteful, could have had three assists if his team-mates had been more clinical. 8.
DAVID SILVA: Almost latched on to a Sterling cross in the second half. His link-up with Jesus will get better with time. 6.
LEROY SANE: Not one of his better performances and was taken off for Ilkay Gundogan with six minutes left. 6.
GABRIEL JESUS: It was his touch that laid on De Bruyne’s thundering strike and unlucky to see a late volley cleared off the line by Rudiger. 6.
BERNARDIO SILVA (for Silva, 76): Kept possession under pressure in the latter stages as City held on. 6.
ILKAY GUNDOGAN (for Sane, 84): Brought on to give City more protection in the final minutes. 6.
DANILO (for De Bruyne, 90): Came on too late to make an impact. 5
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