Our 3️⃣ points after Man City effectively end Chelsea's title hopes | OneFootball

Our 3️⃣ points after Man City effectively end Chelsea's title hopes

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Dan Burke

Manchester City moved a huge step closer to retaining the Premier League title when they beat Chelsea courtesy of a brilliant goal from Kevin De Bruyne on Saturday.

Manchester City 1
Chelsea 0
Full time

Here are three conclusions from the action at the Etihad …

Chelsea’s title challenge fizzles out

There was a period in the early weeks of the season when Chelsea were looking like the most imperious side in the country, but this result leaves them 13 points behind City, and the west Londoners can pretty much kiss goodbye to their title dream.

It’s not inconceivable that City could drop plenty of points between now and the end of the season, but Chelsea would probably have to win all 16 of their remaining games if they are to have any chance of winning the title, and it’s very hard to imagine them doing that.

If Liverpool win their two games in hand they would be eight points behind City and must now be considered the only threat to the champions’ crown. But Jürgen Klopp’s side will also have to be near-flawless between now and May, and it’s a big ask.

They won’t be getting the trophy anytime soon, but City are undoubtedly the champions-elect already.

Timid Thomas

Given the importance of this game, a brave performance was required from Chelsea.

But aside from one or two flashes, there wasn’t much courage on display from the European champions.

Thomas Tuchel set his team up to try and hit City on the break but their chances to counter were few and far between, and Romelu Lukaku struggled to hold the ball up and bring his team-mates into play.

Chelsea’s best two moments both came from Lukaku running at City’s defence, but the Belgian striker’s influence on the game was limited, and Tuchel waited until his side had gone 1-0 down to bring on his substitutes.

It’s very hard to play against City and deal with their press, and of course Covid and injuries have made Tuchel’s job a lot harder this season.

But in his two meetings with Pep Guardiola this term, the German tactician has come up short, and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Grealish growing pains

This was another day to remember in what is becoming another season to remember for City.

They can play better than they played here but they controlled the game from start to finish and thoroughly deserved the victory.

Kevin De Bruyne looks back to his best, Premier League Player of the Month Raheem Sterling was outstanding, and City’s pressing game was on point for the entire 90 minutes.

But if there was one slight disappointment, it’s that Jack Grealish still hasn’t quite found his groove as a City player.

Britain’s most expensive footballer played with plenty of willing and enthusiasm, and he would have scored in the first half were it not for a good save from Kepa Arrizabalaga.

But at times he was guilty of slowing City’s attacks down by taking too many touches, and his one-footedness makes him too easy defend against when he cuts in from the left.

The good news for City is that there is a pattern of players taking time to settle under Guardiola, and we may not see the best of Grealish in a blue shirt until next season.

He will get there eventually, but the City faithful will have to wait patiently.

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