Chelsea came from behind to beat Guardiola’s men 3-1 at the Etihad to make it eight win in a row. Chelsea’s Gary Cahill turned the ball into the back of his own net before half time before they built on Man City’s missed chances. Diego Costa equalized before substitute Willian and Hazard also scored to secure all three points for Chelsea. In the last few moments, Sergio Aguero made an horrible foul on David Luiz as referee Anthony Taylor showed red to the Argentine. This wasn’t enough yet as Fernandinho held Cesc Febregas on the neck and pushed him over almost getting to the first row of the spectators. Anthony Taylor had nothing to think about as he showed a second red.
This, far more than the Manchester derby in September, appeared like a contest between two clubs most likely to finish up as Premier League champions. It was not the usual match at the Etihad Stadium, where the screens normally proclaim statistics showing that Manchester City enjoyed 70 per cent plus possession.
Injuries had forced both managers to make a change. The involvement of Fabregas, who had last started for Chelsea in September’s debacle against Arsenal, and Jesus Navas, who replaced Raheem Sterling, appeared to weaken both teams. In fact, both were involved in their sides’ respective opening goals while Navas should have had more than just the one assist.
The referee, Anthony Taylor, was surely right to dismiss both Aguero and Fernandinho but the interval had seen him booed off. There were two incidents. The first had come when David Silva had taken the ball past Gary Cahill, who had lost his footing and then appeared to touch the ball in the penalty area with his forearm.
Almost immediately after De Bruyne’s miss, Chelsea equalised. A long ball from Fabregas was brought under control by Diego Costa, who out muscled Otamendi, turned and shot. Ten minutes later, Chelsea broke away again. A long pass from Costa found Willian clear on goal and the Brazilian did not miss. Guardiola responded by throwing on every available striker but once more Chelsea waited for the moment to strike and Eden Hazard’s goal was the cue for the stadium to empty. Those who remained saw what was a great footballing contest disintegrate into an open brawl.
Manchester City: Bravo; Otamendi, Stones (Iheanacho 78), Kolarov; Fernandinho, Gundogan (Toure 76); Navas, De Bruyne, Silva, Sane (Clichy 69); Aguero.
Substitutes: Caballero (g), Sagna, Zabaleta, Fernando.
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro (Willian 50), Costa, Hazard.
Substitutes: Begovic (g), Ivanovic, Oscar, Batshuayi, Chalobah, Aina.
Referee: Anthony Taylor