Match Report: Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea: De Bruyne strike sends City 13 points clear

Kevin De Bruyne scores for Manchester City against former club Chelsea

Kevin De Bruyne hit a scorching winner as Manchester City extended their Premier League lead to 13 points with a 1-0 victory against second-placed Chelsea.

A tightly contested game at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday came to life 20 minutes from time as De Bruyne intervened decisively.

Chelsea did not see much of the ball but had their chances to get on the scoresheet too, with Romelu Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech particularly wasteful on the counter-attack.

Pep Guardiola’s City have now won 12 league games on the bounce, and it is difficult to see how they can be denied making it back-to-back titles in May.

City dominated much of the first half but were grateful for poor decision-making and execution from Lukaku and Ziyech on two occasions as Chelsea looked to counter early on.

The best chance for the hosts in the opening 45 minutes came when an effective high press set Jack Grealish through on goal, but Kepa Arrizabalaga deflected the £100million man’s shot behind with his left leg.

The visitors should have taken the lead two minutes into the second half when Lukaku was sent clear by Mateo Kovacic, but Ederson palmed his shot away before Ziyech lifted the rebound over the bar.

The league leaders finally broke the deadlock in the 70th minute when former Chelsea man De Bruyne cut in from the left side before expertly firing past the despairing dive of Arrizabalaga from 22 yards.

The Blues tried to find an equaliser, but City showed their solid side to clinch the three points, moving a significant step closer to lifting the Premier League trophy once more.

What does it mean? A tale of two Blues as City race away

City have not dropped a point since their surprise 2-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace in October, and such form has seen them create a monstrous lead over title rivals Chelsea and Liverpool.

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea have won just four of their last 12 in the league (D6 L2), so it’s not too hard to see why the title has got away from them and why second place is probably now the best they can hope for.

While the London side gave a better account of themselves here than they did in the reverse defeat at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, they were not clinical enough in key moments, hitting the target just once.

Who needs a striker?

There was a baffling amount said about Guardiola not being able to sign a striker ahead of this season, considering City had just won a league title easily without using one for the majority of the campaign.

They tried to sign Harry Kane and are being linked with a move for Erling Haaland, but with the league’s best attack (54 goals scored) and best defence (13 goals conceded), it is difficult to see where the great need to add a number nine is supposed to be.

The gap widens as Blues come up short

The 13-point gap is not the only chasm that exists among teams at the top of the Premier League.

Chelsea’s 3-0 aggregate win against Tottenham in the EFL Cup semi-final showed the significant gap that exists between Spurs and Tuchel’s side, but City showed here that the distance between Chelsea and themselves is probably just as big.

The European champions rarely looked like winning the game, managing just four shots and one on target, all of which came in the second half, and only saw possession of the ball late on when City were happy to keep them at arm’s length to see out the win.

What’s next?

Manchester City travel to Southampton next Saturday, while Chelsea have a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday.

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