Premier League leaders Manchester City reached one step closer to their 5th Premiership title after beating defending champions Chelsea FC 1-0 on Sunday.
The Citizens extended their lead at the top to 18 points over currently second-placed Liverpool FC and 19 over neighbours United who play on Monday night. Chelsea are now 5 points behind 4th placed Tottenham Hotspurs, and with 9 games to go, look in serious jeopardy of missing out on Champions League football next season. Here are 3 talking points from the game:
Conte’s disaster of playing Hazard out of position cost them dearly:
Eden Hazard is surely one of, if not the best player in the Premier League right now. The Belgian winger/forward has been one of the most creative players in the league for many years and he has been successful in giving the world’s best defenders some real sleepless nights at the number 10 position. Even during the tough time that Chelsea are currently going through, Hazard has still been the shining star for the Blues. But Chelsea boss Antonio Conte made a terrible mistake by playing his best player as a false nine against City. Without a proper centre-forward upfront, and Hazard playing too up the field, the supply lines for Chelsea dried up big time. This allowed the superb ballplayers of Man City like Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Ilkay Gündogan, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva more time and space on the ball, which ultimately led to sheer dominance. City had a staggering 71% possession of the ball and Chelsea’s 29% was one of their worst in history. The visitors had only 3 shots altogether and none on target during the course of the match. The final scoreline line looked flattering for the Londoners thanks to some poor finishing from the 4-times champions and their captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s heroics.
David Silva is still the main man for Pep Guardiola’s men:
The one player who has always been underappreciated amongst the golden generation of the Spanish Team is David Silva. The Spaniard was an integral part of Spain’s back to back Euro Cup triumphs in 2008 and 2012. Ever since joining the Blue side of Manchester in 2010 he has made 337 appearances scoring 58 goals. He has also provided with a huge number of assists in those years. He was always the central figure during City’s two league wins under Italian Roberto Mancini in 2012 and Manuel Pellegrini in 2014. Well, some things never change. City are on course to win their 3rd league title in 6 years under 3 different managers and a 32-year old David Silva is still the man in the centre of everything. During Sunday’s match at the City of Manchester Stadium, he not only set up the winning goal but also had a 95% pass success rate with 107 completed passes. He terrorised the Chelsea defence along with his teammates the whole time before being substituted in the dying moments.
Bernardo Silva is here to stay in Manchester:
The Portuguese midfielder was brought in this summer for a huge fee of £43.5 million and day by day he is proving worth every penny of it. The 23-year old kneed home David Silva’s cross right after the play re-started to give City the all-important 3 points. Bernardo has now scored in back to back matches against Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC in a space of 3 days. There were rumours in mid-season that former AS Monaco player would be used in a deal to bring unsettled Isco Alcaron from Real Madrid. But with performances like these, it can be said that those rumours are least likely to say daylight. Bernardo Silva earned the man of the match award for his performance against Chelsea on Sunday night and he is sure to give his manager a tough time to overlook him for the upcoming games in the Champions League.