David Silva, Riyad Mahrez struggle as Man City endure rare off-day
LONDON -- Manchester City were knocked off the top of the Premier League table as their unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea. Pep Guardiola's side were on top until N'Golo Kante smashed in the opener just before half-time. David Luiz headed in a second in the 78th minute to end any hope City had of snatching a point.
City have played the rest of the top five away from home and will not expect many tougher trips. In each of their four games against their rivals, they have won the possession battle, although they have only scored three times in those matches.
Playing without the injured Sergio Aguero appears to be a problem, especially in big games, when City look short of a central threat. Raheem Sterling started in the role at Stamford Bridge and then exchanged positions with Riyad Mahrez but neither looked particularly at ease. Substitute Gabriel Jesus was a more natural fit but he is desperately short of goals. City's high-risk philosophy is always going to give up chances but usually they are ahead; Chelsea made the most of a lack of incisiveness.
Manager Rating out of 10
6 -- Guardiola has had the better of Maurizio Sarri on each occasion they have met, but on this occasion, the Italian's counters-attacking plan was spot on. Meanwhile, the decision to leave Jesus out of the starting line-up was a mistake and serves as another confidence dent to the striker.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 6 -- Had no chance with either goals but made a couple of decent saves in the second half to keep City in the match.
DF Kyle Walker, 6 -- Lost Willian on Chelsea's quick break for the opening goal, a rare misjudgment but one that proved very costly in Guardiola's attacking system.
DF John Stones, 6 -- Generally he looked comfortable defensively given Chelsea's lack of physicality up front, but he was beaten in the air for Luiz's header.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 6 -- Enjoyed time on the ball but he was not able to play his usual decisive passes out of defence. This was his first Premier League defeat.
DF Fabian Delph, 6 -- Playing at left-back again, he faced a real test against the speed of Pedro but kept the Spanish international mostly quiet.
MF Fernandinho, 7 -- City's standout player, he showed what Sarri wants from Jorginho at the base of midfield. While the Italy international was caught out too often, Fernandinho was rarely rattled despite the huge responsibility that comes with the position.
MF Bernardo Silva, 6 -- Led the press in midfield with a busy performance but could not deliver a clinical moment.
MF David Silva, 5 -- With Kante busying around, the playmaker was not able to have his usual influence. Late in the game, he limped off with a possible muscle injury.
FW Riyad Mahrez, 5 -- He spent too much time with his back to goal and was not able to cause Chelsea enough problems.
FW Raheem Sterling, 6 -- On his birthday, the 24-year-old started at centre-forward and fluffed one early chance. He looked more dangerous when shifted out to the flanks in the second half but could not make a decisive contribution.
FW Leroy Sane, 6 -- The biggest threat before half-time but he should have made more of the opportunities he had in front of goal. He also switched off for Kante's strike and but it was still a surprise when he was withdrawn early in the second half.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 5 -- He provided a much-needed focal point but not a goal.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 5 -- Unable to swing the game City's way.
MF Phil Foden, NR -- Came on too late to have an impact.