Chelsea boosted their hopes of a top four finish on Thursday, beating Manchester City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, in the process helping Liverpool win the Premier League.
Chelsea were organised from the get-go, hardly allowing Manchester City any opportunity. And having frustrated them for most of the first half, the Blues broke the deadlock as Christian Pulisic pounced on a horrific blunder by Benjamin Mendy, slotting the ball past Ederson with great composure.
The second half saw Manchester City come back strong as Kevin De Bruyne equalise with a sensational free-kick. Soon after, Raheem Sterling almost made it 2-1, but his effort bounced back off the post. Pulisic was denied a second by a superb goal-line clearance by Kyle Walker, but Willian put Chelsea ahead from the spot, after Fernandinho handled the ball in another goalline melee.
Manchester City couldn’t muster up a fight late on, as Chelsea emerged out on top, widening the gap to fifth-placed Manchester United to five points. The Blues’ victory also led to Liverpool being crowned the champions of the Premier League, ending their thirty-year wait for a top-flight title.
Words we've waited 109 days to say…
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) June 25, 2020
For the second time in the last five seasons, the title has been decided at Stamford Bridge, without the winners being action, the first time being in 2015/16, when the Blues beat Tottenham to confirm Leicester City as champions. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Chelsea stars on the night.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 6/10
A mixed bag of a display from the Spaniard. A poor clearance early on almost hurt Chelsea, but Kepa produced a brilliant stop to deny Fernandinho a goal soon after. Beaten all ends up by De Bruyne’s blockbuster free-kick.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
Couldn’t contribute much on the attacking side like he did against Aston Villa last time out, but the Chelsea skipper was rock solid at the back, dealing with the threat of Sterling and the overlapping Benjamin Mendy. Made the most tackles on the night (5), while chipping in with two interceptions as well.
Andreas Christensen: 8/10
Enjoyed a really positive first period as he stepped out to break up attacks frequently, while he also managed to force a save from Ederson. Took a blow to the head trying to block Mendy’s fierce strike at goal in the second half, but continued manfully and ensured his team got over the line.
Andreas Christensen vs Man City
– Ground Duels Won [6/6] [100%]
– Successful Tackles [4/4] [100%]
– Aerial Duels Won [2/2] [100%]
– Passing Accuracy [94%]
– Clearances , Interceptions  , Shots Blocked 
– Chances Created 
One of his best games in a Chelsea jersey 👊 pic.twitter.com/4OVKobGzOB
— Nouman (@nomifooty) June 25, 2020
Antonio Rudiger: 7/10
Like his centre-back partner, the German too had a solid game going up against a fluid Manchester City attack. His aerial presence came in very handy for the hosts as he dominated duels during set-pieces. It was Rudiger who won the header in the Chelsea box in the lead-up to Pulisic’s goal at the other end.
Marcos Alonso: 6/10
A first-half booking meant that the Spaniard was walking a defensive tightrope for most of the game. However, Alonso did well to stay out of trouble, doing just about enough to keep Riyad Mahrez away from the danger area. Didn’t offer much going forward, much like his captain on the opposite flank.
Ross Barkley: 6/10
Handed a surprise start ahead of the likes of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, Barkley saw a shot blocked by Fernandinho in the first half. Didn’t do much of note attack-wise post that, with Manchester City dominating possession. But his work-rate off the ball was important given the situation.
N’Golo Kante: 7/10
Slotting in as the holding midfielder, the diminutive Frenchman was in his elements, breaking up attacks and keeping City at bay for most of the game. His use of the ball left a lot to be desired, though, while he conceded the free-kick from which De Bruyne scored, which docks a point for him.
Mason Mount: 6.5/10
Much like Barkley, Mount worked his socks off without the ball, but offered a touch more than his compatriot going forward. Was involved in most of Chelsea’s attacks, but will rue the chance he missed in the second period, firing into the side netting from a promising position.
Dispatched the match-winning penalty with great aplomb, but apart from that moment, the Brazilian didn’t do much of note as he struggled to get into the game for large phases. Should have done better to take advantage of Mendy’s suspect positioning throughout the match.
Olivier Giroud: 5/10
Isolated and lacked any support at the top and with Manchester City dominating possession, he was deprived of service to make much of an impact. Did hold up the ball well at times, while a couple of flicks helped launch attacks.
Christian Pulisic: 8/10
Handed a start after his goalscoring cameo against Aston Villa, the USMNT international justified his selection with an energetic performance. Did brilliantly to pounce on Mendy’s error and held his nerve to finish past Ederson to hand Chelsea the lead. Would have had a second if not for a spectacular goalline clearance from Walker.
Goals – 1
Shots(OT) – 3(3)
Dribbles – 4
Rating – 7.88 pic.twitter.com/X0PO3PA6Zn
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 25, 2020
Had more shots on target (3) than Manchester City managed as a whole (2), while also completing the most dribbles on the night. Has started the final phase of the campaign with a bang.
Tammy Abraham: 7/10
On for Giroud after the hour mark, the Englishman added a different dimension to Chelsea’s attack. Played a huge role in the Blues winning the penalty that Willian scored from.
Mateo Kovacic: 6/10
Came on for Barkley with less than twenty minutes left. Worked hard and helped solidify things in the middle.
Stoppage time substitute for Mount.
Billy Gilmour: N/A
Stoppage time substitute for Pulisic.