Antonio Conte’s woeful Chelsea side were comfortably dispatched by league leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
The 1-0 scoreline doesn’t really reflect the sheer dominance that city exerted over their visitors on the night. Guardiola’s men had 71% of the possession, attempted 13 shots at goal as opposed to Chelsea’s 3 and managed to get 3 on target, which Chelsea didn’t register a single shot on target.
Manchester City weren’t even at their best, clinical self. After the first goal, the Citizens effectively took their foot off the pedal and let Chelsea have a go at them for a bit. However, after Victor Moses got close, they took back possession and controlled the tempo of the game.
After a while the Blues just seemed exhausted, having chased after City ball trying to win back possession. Eventually Chelsea just resorted to playing out long passes in the hopes that either Pedro, Willian and Eden Hazard would get to it and have a run at goal.
The lack of a striker was evident, but Conte persisted with his formation. Olivier Giroud came on in the 78th minute and hardly saw any of the ball while Morata came on in the 90th. As things stand Chelsea are fifth on the table, five points behind fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur.
‘we must be prepared to suffer without the ball’ pic.twitter.com/zS7VIJAqfy
— amadí (@amadoit__) March 4, 2018
Thibaut Courtois: N/A
Made one save. Couldn’t do anything about the goal. Had more touches that Willian, Hazard or Pedro. Besides that, he did okay in goal and distributed decently.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
Perhaps the best defender among Chelsea’s 10 outfield players. Did a good job on the right side of the back three. Distributed extremely well and maintained a high pass accuracy rate. Saved his side with a good block after Courtois was caught out of position.
— Chelsea GIFs (@ChelseaGIFs) March 4, 2018
Andreas Christensen: 5.5/10
Defended well, but his failed attempt at a clearance led to what would eventually be the winner. Hasn’t been in the best form over the past few weeks and his usually good range of passing wasn’t on display on the night.
Antonio Rudiger: 6/10
Had a good game in defence. The German international made some key blocks and recovered possession for his side well. But his passing was not up to the mark, to say the least. Made some unnecessary fouls, hardly any of his attempted long balls found their target and he also picked up a booking, the only Chelsea player to do so.
Victor Moses: 5/10
Had a chance to bring his side back into the game, scoffed it. It was by no means an easy angle, but the wingback should have done much better given the circumstances. Wasn’t good in possession at all and barely saw any of the ball, so couldn’t go forward.
Cesc Fabregas: 5/10
His passing was well below par on the night and he couldn’t make any kind of positive impact for Chelsea going forward. Spent most of his evening trying to chase down players and win back possession and he struggled with the same. Saw too little of the ball to do anything with and City cut off the supply to Spaniard very well.
Danny Drinkwater: 5/10
Failed to exert any kind of influence in midfield. Just could not keep up with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne and not for lack of effort. Tried to play it as safe as possible and didn’t combine well with Fabregas. Was completely focused on defending and barely tried to go forward.
Marcos Alonso: 5.5/10
Made some key interceptions and won more aerial duels than anyone else on the pitch, but that remains the extent of his contribution. Should have been aware of an onrushing Bernardo Silva and could have done better to prevent the goal. Spend most of his time defending. Barely given a chance to get ahead.
Still Chelsea’s biggest attacking threat. Given the form he been in over the past few weeks one would have the Brazilian to make some kind of an impact.
Unfortunately for the Blues, that was not the case. Tried to cause problems with his pace and direct running, took on oncoming City players well enough and even made some decent tackles. But misplacing passes, lack of service and Chelsea’s ridiculous lack of possession didn’t help.
Eden Hazard: 6/10
Hardly saw any of the ball, so couldn’t work his magic that much. When City weren’t in possession they cut off supply to the Belgian and the lacklustre performance of his fellow attacking players didn’t help his cause either. Cut an extremely frustrated, isolated figure upfront. Is not a striker, should not be played as one.
— amadí (@amadoit__) March 4, 2018
The Spaniard had a terrible game by his standards and it is strange how he lasted so long on the pitch. On the rare occasion that Chelsea could unleash a counter attack, the former Barcelona man misplaced his passes and and just couldn’t contribute meaningfully to the Blues’ cause. Hauled off after 82nd minutes for Emerson.