Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea - £60M Reject Fires Citizens 13 Points Clear
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15: Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with teammate Raheem Sterling of Manchester City after scoring their team's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Kevin De Bruyne played the villain against his former club once more, as his second-half strike helped his side to a 12th successive Premier League victory.

Story of the Match

Manchester City entered the game looking to stretch their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 13 points, with Thomas Tuchel's men aware that a defeat would leave their title aspirations in tatters.

It was the visitors who forged the first opening of the match, as Romelu Lukaku made light work of John Stones but with the goal at his mercy, the big Belgian opted to look for the supporting Hakim Ziyech as the chance went begging.

Tuchel ran with his usual five at the back formation, with wingbacks Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso afforded very little time in the attacking third, with the two pinned back by the high press of Jack Grealish and the superb Raheem Sterling.

Despite their dominance of the ball, there was little to write home about in the way of chances for Manchester City in the opening exchanges, although they were left lambasting the right thigh of Kepa, who superbly denied Grealish just before the break.

The chance came after Mateo Kovacic carelessly played a pass back across his own goal, with Grealish the quickest to react. But unfortunately for the out-of-form Englishman, a poor first touch allowed Kepa the opportunity to race off his line and pull off a superb save to send the two sides into the sheds level. 

Chelsea started the second half as they began the first, with a high intensity which lead to a golden opportunity for Romelu Lukaku to put the visitors in front, but Ederson was alert to the danger, pulling off a fine save before Ziyech blazed the follow up high and wide.

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Sterling continued to torment Alonso in the early exchanges of the second period and looked to have won the Citizens a penalty when he was carelessly brought down by the Spaniard ten minutes into the second half. The linesman's flag denied the hosts a spot-kick though, with Kyle Walker adjudged to have been offside in the build-up.

The all-important breakthrough came 20 minutes from time, as Kevin De Bruyne received the ball deep in midfield, before turning past N'Golo Kante and curling the ball home from the edge of the box to grab his sixth goal against his former club.

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Chelsea improved after falling behind, but in honesty, they never looked like scoring against well oiled City defence, who held on for a victory that sees them move 13 points clear of their title rivals. 

Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; Rodri, Bernardo, De Bruyne (C); Sterling, Foden, Grealish

Cheslea: Kepa; Azpilicueta (C), Rudiger, Silva, Sarr, Alonso; Kante, Kovacic; Ziyech, Pulisic, Lukaku