Mahrez Winner Sees Man City Cut Arsenal's Lead And Adds To Chelsea's Woes  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 1

Manchester City kicked off their year in ominous fashion, with a 1-0 win at Chelsea cutting their gap to Premier League leaders Arsenal to five points.

Arsenal's draw at home to Newcastle on Tuesday opened the door for the second-placed defending champions to reduce the deficit and, after a below-par first half, City eventually ramped up the pressure in the second period and broke through when two subs combined, with Riyad Mahrez tucking in Jack Grealish's low cross (63).

Carney Chukwuemeka had struck a post on 44 minutes for Chelsea but Nathan Ake headed against the frame of the goal for City soon after the restart and the visitors deservedly went on to claim a fourth win in a row against Chelsea since losing the Champions League final to them in 2021.

There was no goal for top scorer Erling Haaland at Stamford Bridge but that's the 11th time in a row City have won their first Premier League game of the year and this one sets them up for another title charge in 2023.

As for Chelsea, they will get the opportunity to hit back in the FA Cup third-round tie with City at the Etihad on Sunday, but with Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic limping off early on and just six points from their last eight games - their worst run since 2010 - the problems are mounting up for Graham Potter. They stay 10th, 10 points off the top four.

How Man City won at Stamford Bridge

Both teams came into the contest off the back of frustrating draws, with Chelsea held at Nottingham Forest and City sharing the points with Everton at the Etihad last time out. Those results intensified the pressure on this heavyweight clash and the tension was tangible during an edgy first half, which saw Sterling clutch his hamstring and Pulisic pick up a knock when brilliantly denied by player of the match John Stones.

Pulisic's replacement, 19-year-old Chukwuemeka made an impact, though, launching a counter-attack before breaking into the box himself and seeing Bernardo Silva block his shot before striking a post later in the half with a deflected drive.

That effort sparked City into action, with De Bruyne testing Kepa Arrizabalaga in stoppage time, but going in at the break City hadn't been as sharp as they might have been. Their first shot of the match hadn't come until the 33rd minute and with with Joao Cancelo, Kyle Walker and Phil Foden making their first starts since the World Cup, the visitors had been below their best.

That all changed after the break. Walker and Cancelo came off and with Rico Lewis and Manuel Akanji in the side, City suddenly looked a more effective machine, with Haaland shooting wide before Ake rose to head a fine De Bruyne cross against the post.

The Belgian then had a couple of digs of his own, either side of a rare Chelsea chance that fell the way of Thiago Silva, but it was Grealish who came up with the craft to eventually break the deadlock, guiding a pass through the six-yard box for Mahrez to tap in.

Chelsea's injury list

N’Golo Kante (thigh)
Reece James (knee)
Edouard Mendy (shoulder)
Wesley Fofana (knee)
Armando Broja (knee)
Mason Mount (knock)
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (ankle)
Raheem Sterling (hamstring)
Christian Pulisic (ankle)

Chelsea's options at that point looked limited, with little experience on their bench, but debutant Omari Hutchinson, Lewis Hall and Conor Gallagher added youthful energy and while Haaland just failed to turn in a De Bruyne cross the home side finished on the front foot, with Hall blazing over.

Despite that promise and potential, once again the finishing touch eluded Chelsea's forwards - including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was less than impressed to be subbed off after earlier coming on for Sterling - and Potter has a big task on his hands to lift this side up the league towards where they want to be. More immediately he has to figure out how to end Chelsea's sorry streak against Man City in time for Sunday.

Opta stats - Mahrez and Grealish combine

Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish combined for a goal just 3 minutes and 43 seconds after the pair had been substituted on for Manchester City.

Jack Grealish has assisted three goals across his last three Premier League appearances for Manchester City, doubling his tally from his first 34 games in the competition for the club.

Riyad Mahrez has scored nine goals a substitute for Manchester City in the Premier League, with only Edin Dzeko (13) and Sergio Agüero (12) scoring more goals a substitute for the club in the competition. Mahrez is the Premier League's top scoring substitute since he joined Manchester City in 2018-19.

Riyad Mahrez scored his 40th Premier League goal for Manchester City, going clear of his tally in the competition with previous club Leicester City (39).

What's next?

These sides meet again on Sunday at the Etihad in the third round of the FA Cup in a 4.30pm kick-off. Chelsea then go to Fulham on Thursday January 12 at 8pm in their next Premier League encounter, while Man City have a Carabao Cup tie at Southampton on Wednesday 11 January at 8pm, live on Sky Sports.

Click Here For Official Team Sheet


Chelsea Kepa, Azpilicueta (c), Silva, Koulibaly, Cucurella (Hall 68), Kovacic, Zakaria, Sterling (Aubameyang 5) (Hutchinson 68), Ziyech (Gallagher 69), Havertz, Pulisic (Chukwuemeka 22)
Subs Not Used Bettinelli, Humphreys, Chalobah, Jorginho
Booked Kovacic, Koulibaly

Manchester City Ederson, Cancelo (Lewis 46), Ake, Stones, Walker (Akanji 46), Gundogan (c), Rodri (Phillips 86), De Bruyne, Foden (Grealish 60), Haaland, Silva (Mahrez 60)
Subs Not Used Ortega, Gomez, Palmer, Alvarez
Goals Mahrez 63

Attendance 39,998

Referee Paul Tierney

VAR Michael Salisbury