Manchester City moved back within five points of Arsenal in the Premier League title race with a 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening.
With the Gunners drawing 0-0 with Newcastle United last time out, Pep Guardiola knew his side had the chance to heap some pressure on the league leaders. And despite a difficult first half in which Chelsea generated the best chances, that’s exactly what City did, finally breaking the deadlock just after the hour mark with substitutes Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez combining just moments after coming on.
While it was a positive night for the defending champions, more misery was heaped on Chelsea, who remain stuck in 10th place, 10 points adrift of the Champions League places.
Here are the full player ratings from City’s vital 1-0 win over Chelsea:
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 3/10 – Had Grealish’s cross for the winning goal within his grasp but just decided not to stick his arm out. Bizarre and very costly.
Marc Cucurella – 3/10 – Solid enough in the first half but totally capitulated in the second half. At fault for the goal, losing the run of Mahrez.
Kalidou Koulibaly – 6/10 – Solid enough. Totally dominant in the air as always.
Thiago Silva – 7/10 – One of Chelsea’s best players on the night, defending with composure and even coming close to scoring at the other end. Continues to defy the years.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 5/10 – Offered precious little going forward but did okay enough defensively.
Mateo Kovacic – 8/10 – Did a great job in breaking up Manchester City’s play and showed plenty of composure on the ball. One of the few Chelsea players who can walk away truly satisfied with their night’s work.
Denis Zakaria – 7/10 – Clean and tidy with the ball and made a few promising bursts forward but never quite did enough to worry Man City.
Raheem Sterling – N/A – Came off with a hamstring injury in the opening minutes.
Hakim Ziyech – 4/10 – Tried to make things happen but was too wayward with his passing and ran down a lot of dead ends.
Christian Pulisic – 6/10 – Picked up an injury midway through the first half after looking quite lively beforehand.
Kai Havertz – 7/10 – Rarely threatened to score himself, but did create a few decent openings for his teammates. Created a match-high four chances.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (for Sterling, 5′) – 4/10 – Brought on early to replace the injured Sterling and didn’t really do a great deal before returning to the bench in the 68th minute.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's game by numbers vs Manchester City:
10 passes completed
1 duel won
1 touch in the opp. box
1 foul committed
The sub is subbed. 😩 pic.twitter.com/s939qbvrVr
— Squawka (@Squawka) January 5, 2023
Carney Chukwuemeka (for Pulisic, 22′) – 7/10 – Made a good impact from the bench and was unlucky not to score, hitting the post just before half-time. Faded in the second half.
Omari Hutchinson (for Aubameyang, 69′) – 5/10 – Never really got into the game.
Lewis Hall (for Cucurella, 69′) – 6/10 – Looked calm in the midst of a Premier League heavyweight clash.
Conor Gallagher (for Ziyech, 69′) – 7/10 – Injected some energy into the Chelsea midfield but was unable to turn the tide.
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Ederson – 5/10 – Rarely tested but nearly landed his team in trouble charging way outside his box in the second half.
Kyle Walker – 6/10 – Played for the first time since the World Cup quarter-finals. Did a decent job but was brought off at half-time.
John Stones – 9/10 – Was a defensive monster for Man City, making a few last-ditch tackles and positioning himself brilliantly to shut down Chelsea attacks. Composed on the ball as always.
John Stones only misplaced one pass in the first-half against Chelsea, giving him the highest passing accuracy of anyone on the pitch (98%).
Made a critical challenge as well. 👏 pic.twitter.com/VRNfHJZTuA
— Squawka (@Squawka) January 5, 2023
Rodri – 8/10 – Dictated the tempo brilliantly and played an important role stepping between midfield and defensive roles when required. Tactically, he’s perhaps Pep Guardiola’s most important player, despite Erling Haaland being more celebrated.
Nathan Ake – 8/10 – Solid as a rock on the left of City’s defence and almost came close to scoring at the other end, hitting the post with a header on the far side.
Ilkay Gundogan – 8/10 – Continues to offer a great engine to the City midfield. Creative, dangerous and destructive all in the space of one night.
Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – Made a few important defensive interventions and started to cause problems in the attacking third before being withdrawn on the hour.
Joao Cancelo – 6/10 – Played in a surprise right-midfield role and did well, testing the Chelsea defence and delivering a couple of dangerous crosses. Rested at half-time.
Kevin De Bruyne – 8/10 – Started slowly but grew into the game well. Had a spell in the middle of the match where he began carving Chelsea open at will.
Phil Foden – 4/10 – Certainly wasn’t his best game. Neat and tidy, but never looked like threatening Chelsea.
Erling Haaland – 6/10 – Took 20 minutes to register his first touch, summing up how little service he had. Still, created space for his teammates with some good runs and chipped in with some defensive work.
Rico Lewis (for Cancelo, 46′) – 7/10 – A strong second-half showing from Lewis, who was composed and precise with the ball.
Manuel Akanji (for Walker, 46′) – 7/10 – Solid. Didn’t give Chelsea a look and used the ball well.
Riyad Mahrez (for Silva, 60′) – 9/10 – Scored the winning goal within minutes of coming on and caused no end of problems on the right.
Jack Grealish (for Foden, 60′) – 8/10 – Assisted Mahrez with one of his first touches of the ball and showed class throughout.
Kalvin Phillips (for Rodri, 86′) – N/A – Picked up some valuable minutes at the end.
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