Later News Jan 04

Manchester City edge closer to Liverpool, while Chelsea edge closer to Arsenal


Are Manchester City back in the title race? After this morning’s (SGT) emphatic 3-1 win over Chelsea, it would appear that they are.

 

An inconsistent start to the season for City, which included results like a 2-5 loss to Leicester City and a 1-1 draw with Leeds United, meant that many did not consider them to be serious contenders for the Premier League title.

 

Their poor form even led to our Siao Mate, Noah Tan, writing a column to explain why it was a bad decision on City’s part to award Pep Guardiola a new contract. Of course, Noah also wrote a column calling for the sacking of Mikel Arteta, after which Arsenal promptly embarked on a three-game winning streak. So, if you ever need a reverse-jinx on your team, he’d be happy to do it for you for a modest fee.

 

City’s win over Chelsea, courtesy of a first-half blitz which saw them score three goals in 35 minutes, moves them to fifth in the table on 29 points, just four points behind league leaders Liverpool, but with a game in hand.

 

The performance in the first 45 minutes was vintage City (well, as vintage as a club that has only the last decade to boast about can be), with Guardiola’s men playing some scintillating football and tearing the Chelsea defence to bits.

 

After the match, Guardiola said that City – who are currently unbeaten in seven games – were “back” to being the Terminators that regularly terrorised other teams in the league.

 

WATCH: Guardiola says that Man City are 'back'

 

“Today we were back like we were. An important win at Chelsea away,” Guardiola declared. “We played really well. It’s unfortunate about the last goal but the result at Stamford Bridge is fantastic.

 

“We have to play to our rhythm. We won the Premier League like that, more patient, more calm, and we've missed that tempo a little bit for many reasons. The way we won the two Premier League titles was like today.”

 

What made this victory more impressive was the fact that the Citizens were without several key players such as Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker, Ederson and Ferran Torres due to them testing positive for Covid-19.

 

But Guardiola revealed that he had a plan for Chelsea which his players executed to perfection.

 

“The result is incredible for us, especially the way that we played,” Guardiola said. "Chelsea are one of the strongest teams, but we had a plan and tried to play how we've done in the past and it worked, the players were fantastic.

 

“The Premier League is weird for everything. Everything is weird, just have to be focused during the games but otherwise relax. Hopefully in the Premier League in the last six, seven games we can be there fighting.”

 

At the other end of the spectrum, Frank Lampard’s job at Chelsea appears to be in jeopardy after suffering their fourth defeat in six games.

 

The Blues, once singled-out (and reverse-jinxed) by Jurgen Klopp as “title favourites”, put in yet another limp display against City, with star signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz once again failing to impress.

 

Lampard’s men are now closer to ‘relegation candidates’ Arsenal than they are to the top of the table, with just three points separating Chelsea and their London rivals.

 

WATCH: Lampard says Chelsea players learnt a lesson in first half

 

Lampard put the blame on Chelsea’s defeat on City clicking into gear, as he said: “For 10 minutes we were good, then they started to play and we concede two poor goals back-to-back in the game. It knocked us and we didn't react well.

 

“Serious lessons in the first half, good character in the second half but then the game was done. When a team gives you a problem it has to be dealt with but we didn't.”

 

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