Stamford Bridge, London, England
Chelsea bounced back to winning ways, following Saturday’s surprise defeat to Crystal Palace, with a 2-1 victory over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge to maintain their seven-point lead over second-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Eden Hazard put the Blues ahead with a deflected strike before Sergio Agüero levelled the scores after an error from Thibaut Courtois. However Hazard put Chelsea back in front 11 minutes before the break after firing home his follow-up after Willy Caballero saved the Belgian’s initial penalty.
The Blues started well and opened the scoring in the 10th minute after Cesc Fàbregas’ pull-back found Hazard, who first-time strike deflected off returning City defender Vincent Kompany, to wrong-foot Willy Caballero and find the back of the net, although the keeper should have done better in truth.
In the 18th minute the visitors went close when Fernandinho’s powerful effort from-range tested Courtois, but the Belgian made a straightforward save. Two minutes later City went close again when Agüero surged into the penalty-area before firing an effort that Courtois saved well.
A minute later Chelsea very nearly doubled their lead in similar fashion to their first-goal, when a Chelsea break eventually led to a deflected effort from Fàbregas looping over Caballero and onto the top of the crossbar.
In the 26th minute City were level after an error from Courtois. The keeper miscued his clearance, which fell to David Silva, who looked to capitalise when he surged forward to fire an effort at-goal but Courtois did well to make the save, however the loose ball fell into the path of Agüero, who tapped home into the unguarded net.
A minute later the visitors went close when Leroy Sané latched onto a fine through-ball by Silva but just as he looked set to pull the trigger, Courtois raced off his line to smother the effort.
In the 33rd minute Chelsea were given a great chance to take the lead when the referee pointed to the spot after Pedro’s quick feet got the better of Fernandinho, who sent the Spaniard tumbling in the area. Hazard’s resulting-spot-kick was saved by Caballero, but the keeper palmed the ball into the path of the Belgian, who fired the follow-up home.
A minute later City went close again when Agüero received the ball on the edge of the area to fire an effort that deflected just wide.
The visitors started the second-half in the ascendancy and very nearly levelled the scores a minute into the restart when Kevin De Bruyne’s delivery from a freekick was met by Kompany from a tight-angle, who managed to head the ball past Courtois but his effort came back off the crossbar.
Four minutes later City had a great chance to level the scores when Fabian Delph’s lofted-pass, following a freekick, fell to Fernandinho, who appeared to be in an offside position, had just Courtois to beat but he fired the ball harmlessly off-target from close-range. The flag had stayed down too.
In the 64th minute the visitors went close when a Silva delivery from a corner was met by John Stones with a header but his effort was straight at Courtois, who made a good save although, either side of the keeper and the visitors could have been level.
Two minutes later the Blues went close when Pedro cut-inside to curl an effort at-goal but Caballero made a straightforward save.
In the 75th minute the hosts had a good chance when Pedro’s pull-back evaded Fàbregas and fell to Hazard, in search of his hat-trick, but he fired the ball just over the bar.
In the 90th minute the visitors had a great chance when Agüero latched onto terrific pass from substitute Nolito with a first-time strike on the slide but Courtois denied the Argentine, smothering his effort behind.
In the first of three additional minutes, City should have levelled the scores when a City corner fell to Stones in the six-yard-area, but the defender somehow sent the ball over the bar, when he had to score, as Chelsea held on.
The result meant that Chelsea remained top but now moved onto 72 points, seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, while Manchester City remained in fourth on 58 points.