Manchester City showed their ruthless side as they blew away Chelsea to claim a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge.
City have not always looked themselves in the first few months of this season, but have been picking up the pace in recent weeks and claimed a major scalp as they charged towards the top four.
Pep Guardiola’s side are now level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham, and have a game in hand. If they play like they did against Chelsea every week, they will be back among the Champions League berths in no time.
Dealing with a number of absences, City still managed to outdo their opponents.
Guardiola gave a Premier League debut to Zack Steffen in goal in the absence of Ederson.
There was an awkward moment for the American early on, when he picked up a backpass. However, Chelsea could not make the most of the resulting indirect free kick.
City’s first big chance of the game came in the 15th minute, when Joao Cancelo slid the ball in for Kevin De Bruyne. The midfielder pulled his shot wide of the far post, though.
Shortly after, the visitors managed to break the deadlock. Ilkay Gundogan received the ball on the edge of the box, turning and shooting at goal.
His effort flew beyond the outstretched leg of Thiago Silva and the dive of Edouard Mendy to make it 1-0.
Ilkay Gundogan scored Manchester City's first goal, finishing off a spell of passing with this slick turn and finish 🔥🇩🇪 Could Mendy have done better?
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 3, 2021
It immediately sparked City into life, and they doubled their lead just two-and-a-half minutes later. De Bruyne squared the ball in the box for Phil Foden, who finished first time at the near post.
It was 3-0 in the 34th minute. City broke away on a counter attack, with Raheem Sterling charging down on goal.
He tried to round Mendy, but that allowed bodies to get back. Even so, he managed to clip the post with a curled shot, before the ball rebounded to De Bruyne, who had a simple finish.
That made it just the second time in the Premier League era that Chelsea have conceded three goals in the first half of a home match.
11 – This is just the 11th time in Premier League history that Chelsea have trailed by 3+ goals at half time of a game, while they've only managed to avoid losing in one of the previous 10 (D1 L9). Sentenced. pic.twitter.com/dewbnCpLV9
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 3, 2021
Chelsea at risk of conceding more
City could have had a fourth before half-time when Gundogan’s attempt at the end of a lively team move went narrowly wide.
Chelsea began the second half under pressure as well. Mendy produced a good reaction stop to deny a close-range header from Rodri.
There was another chance when Sterling played in De Bruyne after a positive run forward, but it did not result in an effort on target.
City were in cruise control, with Chelsea doing little to trouble them. However, the hosts did manage to pull a goal back in stopppage time.
Callum Hudson-Odoi tapped home a consolation after getting on the end of a pass from Kai Havertz. It was virtually the last action of the game.
It means Chelsea have now gone three games without a win in the Premier League for the first time this season. They drop to eighth in the table, with City overtaking them and rising to their highest position of the season so far.