Player ratings: Jesus winner sees game explode into life, as Chelsea star loses battle with Man City man

Date published: Saturday 25th September 2021 2:28 - Jonny Whitfield

Manchester City players Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal of the game as Manchester City made a Premier League title statement with a 1-0 win over rivals Chelsea.

City dominated a cagey first half, but did not actually create too many chances. For the Blues‘ part, they remained defensively stoic but could not get Romelu Lukaku involved.

After the break, Jesus’ early goal saw the game explode into life. Jack Grealish, who had earlier lost some battles with Cesar Azpilicueta, was able to exert his influence on the game.

Chelsea had numerous chances of their own to equalise. However, Pep Guardiola‘s men stood firm for a crucial win against their Premier League title rivals.

Chelsea

Edouard Mendy: Did not have to make a save in the first half, but he dealt with three City corners excellently. Could do nothing to save the deflected opener, but he made a crucial save on a City break and saved a Grealish shot in the second half. 6/10.

Cesar Azpilicueta: Defensively sound against Jack Grealish and Joao Cancelo early on, before moving to right-back after Reece James’ departure. He lost a couple of battles against Grealish for a bit, but recovered late on in the first half. 5.

Andreas Christensen: Made important defensive first-half contributions, including a double header away in quick succession. 5.

Antonio Rudiger: Worked well down the right of City’s attack for the opening 45, dealing with Gabriel Jesus a lot. 6.

Reece James: Did well in his battles against England colleague Grealish before coming off with a foot injury. 6.

Chelsea pair Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta

N’Golo Kante: Struggled to affect the game much in the first half, bar a good tackle after Chelsea had lost the ball. Came off to get Havertz in the game. 5.

Jorginho: Some nice midfield passing, but had a crucial role in the box to deny Man City two quick-fire chances. Tried his best to defend Jesus for the opener, but the shot deflected off him. 5.

Mateo Kovacic: Played some good passes, but was caught napping with the ball on occasion. Almost scored after 70 minutes, but his shot was blocked. 5.

Marcos Alonso: Very impressive in the first half, not just defensively. His pass set up Timo Werner for one of Chelsea’s few first-half chances. In the second half, he tried to go on the attack more but could not help muster the equaliser. 5.

Romelu Lukaku: Never had a sniff in the opening 45, but in fairness he rarely had touches of the ball amid Chelsea sitting deep and Man City dominating the ball. Had a goal disallowed for offside. 4.

Timo Werner: Lively pressing made Man City defenders work. He almost set up Lukaku and had a shot blocked in the first half. Showed promise with an early second-half run, but lunged in to allow the initial shot for the goal. 6.

Substitutes:

Thiago Silva (on for James, 29): He let Rudiger and Christensen defend well as he settled into the game, but did make one headed clearance. Stopped Cancelo and De Bruyne early on in the second half, before blocking a Jesus shot on the line. 6.

Kai Havertz (on for Kante, 61): Offside when setting up Lukaku for his disallowed goal, before he fouled Walker. 5.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (on for Jorginho, 76): Did not really get into the game as much as he could have. 5.


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Man City

Ederson: Barely featured in the first half, other than a trademark calm pass under serious pressure from Werner. In the second half, he came out fast and well to beat Werner to the ball, before towering above everybody to claim the ball. 8.

Kyle Walker: Was up and down the pitch in the first half, blocking a Werner shot before playing an eye-of-the-needle pass into Kevin de Buyne. Did the same in the second half, speeding back to stop a through-ball to Werner before clearing ahead of an incoming Kai Havertz. 8.

Ruben Dias: Did not have much defending to do in the first half, but was calm on the ball when required. Stepped up after the break to block Kovacic’s shot. 8.

Aymeric Laporte: Like Dias, he was quiet in the first half but did his job. Fouled Lukaku in the second half, but did not pay the price with Alonso’s free-kick – and almost scored off the back of De Bruyne’s set-piece. 7.

Joao Cancelo: City’s liveliest player in their back four early on. He stopped Werner’s shot after keeping his run onside, before playing some nice forward passes. Got the assist for Jesus’ opener, courtesy of his fizzed shot. Won BT Sport‘s Man of the Match award. 9

Kevin de Bruyne: Despite City dominating the ball, De Bruyne did not do much with it before the break. He had two shots blocked and wide, respectively. In the second half, his teasing free-kick set Laporte up. Still regaining his match fitness. 7.

Chelsea striker Timo Werner, Man City midfielder Rodri

Rodri: City’s pivot kept the pressing momentum up in the opening 45 and he had a shot from far out. In the second half, he got City on the attack on multiple occasions. 8.

Phil Foden: Delivered three City corners – all to no avail – but his lofted cross to Gabriel Jesus was nice. 6.

Gabriel Jesus: Struggled to get crosses in past Rudiger, Kovacic and Jorginho early on. However, he had two chances just before the break, blazing a shot over. Took the opening goal well, spinning and finding half a yard to get a shot away. 9.

Bernardo Silva: A few nice touches and proved key in his more central role this season. Played his part in several City attacks in the second 45 minutes, and controlled the game’s tempo by winning a foul from Alonso. 8.

Jack Grealish: Struggled in his early battles with Azpilicueta and James. However, he found more joy once James went off, finding space to pick out De Bruyne on two occasions. Started the second half well with two shots from the left just wide and proved a menace until the final whistle. 9.

Substitutes:

Riyad Mahrez (on for, De Bruyne, 81): Played his part in some final City attacks as they held out for victory. 5.

Fernandinho (on for Foden, 87): Got stuck in in the final minutes to help get City over the line. 5.

Raheem Sterling (on for Grealish, 87): Not enough time to impact the game, with City defending their lead. 5.

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