De Bruyne, Mahrez score as Man City leapfrog Chelsea into third place

Premier League champions Manchester City returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Chelsea, who had won their previous seven away games, led when N’Golo Kante slipped the ball past Ederson from Marco Kovacic’s aerial pass. At that stage, City were facing back-to-back Premier League defeats which would have left them 12 points behind leaders Liverpool and given them an uphill task to retain their title.

But City rallied and equalised when Kevin de Bruyne’s shot hit Kurt Zouma and wrongfooted goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Riyad Mahrez put City, who move above Chelsea into third place, ahead with a fine finish after cutting in from the right wing. Both sides could have scored more in a chaotic first half, City going closest when Sergio Aguero hit the crossbar after a poor clearance by Kepa.

Injuries to David Silva and Sergio Aguero marred the victory. But it was a night of celebration after the defeat at Anfield just before the international break. Raheem Sterling thought he had scored a late third for City, but it was cancelled by VAR in a very tight offside call.

Managers’ reaction

Speaking after the game, Chelsea manager Fran Lampard said: “We controlled the game.

“We played some great stuff. We felt in control but you can’t be absolutely in control against Manchester City.

“It was bad luck for their first goal, and absolute quality from Riyad Mahrez for the second and that changed the game.

“Maybe we were a bit slow with our movement at the back. I know we were giving them a good game but I am disappointed with the small details.

“If you look at City they are an example, and we’re at the absolute start of that process. A few of our players were in the Championship last season, but we want more.”

Also, speaking after the game, Guardiola told reporters: “Chelsea are an incredible team. We knew it, but we beat them.

“It was a typical high-level game. Our back four played so well today. In the most difficult period of the game, we scored on the counter.

“We created enough chances to score more goals.”

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