Thursday 22 March 2018 / 07:32 AM


At Saturday lunchtime, Manchester City hosted their title rivals Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium. And it was, by quite some margin, the best game to take place in the Premier League so far.

Fantastic goals, missed opportunities, controversies, meltdowns and red cards – the game had it all. Here are four thoughts from Chelsea’s 3-1 triumph.

Man City fail to show a ruthless streak

If you watched the game, you’ll know exactly what I mean by that subheadline. For the first 50 minutes, City were the dominant side, and really should have put the game to bed long before Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Willian combined to secure all three points for West London’s finest.

Having gone one goal up rather fortuitously, City had a number of chances to double and treble their lead and put the game out of sight – not least Kevin de Bruyne’s inexplicable miss from all of three yards out. That they didn’t is testament to the fact that this side is not the finished article; compare City’s shots to goals ratio with Chelsea’s and you’ll understand what I mean.

Chelsea have what it takes to win the league

It’s pretty early to be saying this, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say that Chelsea will win the league.

They have by far the most complete side: an imperious defence, a variety of highly talented midfielders and a number of precocious attackers – and any team that stops them will take out the title. Except I don’t think any team will. City were closest, but their defence lets them down, whilst Arsenal and Liverpool are not quite at this standard.

City’s nasty side

If you watched 90 minutes of this game and then turned it off, you could be forgiven for wondering what on earth I’m talking about. It was after normal time had elapsed that all hell broke loose.

Firstly, Sergio Aguero launched himself into David Luiz in truly despicable fashion with a really nasty studs-up challenge that deservedly saw him given a straight red. What followed was a melee, with a number of City’s players losing their heads; none more so than Fernandinho – also shown a red card for grabbing Cesc Fabregas around the neck and pushing him over an advertising hoarding. I’m not even joking.

City must regroup, but how much can they do with this defence?

Make no mistake, Chelsea played well, but City were diabolical in defence. John Stones still seems like a guy who’s more interested in looking flashy on the ball than actually defending, while Otamendi and Kolarov are not at the standard required. Behind them is Claudio ‘Calamity’ Bravo – one of the key figures of the new Guardiola regime, and one who has, frankly, been pretty poor so far.

Unless they invest heavily in their defence in January, I just can’t see them winning the league. First Tottenham, and now Chelsea have unlocked them, and the team that wins the Premier League keeps a lot of clean sheets, it’s as simple as that.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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