Chelsea were dealt a concerning defeat at the hands of Manchester City on Sunday evening.
Chelsea vs Man City
The weekend’s marquee Premier League tie played out a short time ago.
The clash saw Chelsea play host to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, as the Blues aimed to get their season back on track.
Lampard’s men had been in poor form heading into proceedings, with just one win from their last five.
In turn, Chelsea had slipped well off the pace of the title-chasing pack.
As for City, they began Sunday down in 8th in the English top-flight. However, the Citizens were also unbeaten in five, and boasted two games in hand on most of the sides around them.
As such, when all was said and done in southwest London, it came as little surprise to see the tie play out true to form.
Man City dominate
The first real action of the evening saw Zac Steffen, who was in between the sticks in place of the absent Ederson for the visitors, give away an indirect free-kick. Hakim Ziyech’s subsequent effort, though, was deflected wide.
As for City, with no recognised striker on the pitch, Pep Guardiola set his side up in a 4-4-2 in the early stages, with Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in false-9 roles.
The Sky Blues also looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable on the ball early on, with Rodri, in turn, having come close to giving away a penalty just after the 10-minute mark.
Nevertheless, it was the away side who opened up the first real chance of the clash, when De Bruyne missed a one-on-one after finding himself with too much space in Chelsea’s final third.
Ilkay Gundogan, though, made no mistake with his finish just moments later.
The German received the ball on the edge of Chelsea’s box before turning Thiago Silva, and smashing his effort past Edouard Mendy:
Ilkay Gundogan scored Manchester City’s first goal, finishing off a spell of passing with this slick turn and finish 🔥🇩🇪 Could Mendy have done better?
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 3, 2021
City continued to dominate on the back of their opener, with Phil Foden having gone on to add a second 20 minutes in.
The English international made a darting run into the Chelsea box, before slotting home from a De Bruyne cross:
CITY DOUBLE THEIR LEAD! ⚡️
In a matter of minutes Guardiola’s men have raced into a two-goal lead, as Foden casually sweeps it past Mendy.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 3, 2021
KDB then turned goalscorer 34 minutes in, all but killing off the game as a contest.
Raheem Sterling was able to start a counter-attack from his own half, which eventually saw the former Liverpool man surge through one-on-one with Mendy.
Sterling appeared to have blown the chance after hesitating, eventually smashing a strike off the post.
But the ball went on to fall at the feet of De Bruyne, who had no issues in finding the bottom corner.
The first 45 drew to a close with City boasting a deserved 3-0 lead.
Chelsea’s ‘big-six’ woes
The second-half continued in much the same fashion as the first ended, with the away side in complete control, and Chelsea looking devoid of ideas.
Substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi did manage to pull one back for the Blues in injury-time, but it proved little more than a consolation.
In turn, the clash was brought to a close with City taking all three points back to Manchester.
Chelsea, on the other hand, now find themselves all the way down in 8th spot in the Premier League table.
The Londoners also sit a worrying seven points adrift of Liverpool and Manchester United, both of whom boast a game in hand on Lampard’s men.
Amid a whole host of problems for Chelsea right now, though, perhaps the most worrying is their form against the traditional ‘big-six’ sides.
Including Sunday’s game, the capital giants have now taken to the pitch against fellow ‘big-six’ teams on five occasions in 2020/21.
And their form across these fixtures has been quite frankly shocking.
Chelsea fell to a 2-0 defeat vs Liverpool early in the season. This was followed by goalless draws with both Manchester United and Tottenham, a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal and then, of course, their loss vs City earlier today.
When looking at the strength of the Blues’ squad, it is hard to argue that they shouldn’t be mounting a title challenge at present, or at the very least be in the top-four.
As such, if Lampard does not start picking up more points against his side’s closest rivals, then it is hard to see Chelsea persisting with their former midfield star at the helm.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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