City earn double over Chelsea to stretch lead

Kevin De Bryne scored a goal worthy of winning a title.

And that is what Manchester City have surely done already.

Closest rivals Chelsea defended well for nearly 70 minutes to keep Pep Guardiola’s side at bay.

The visitors might even have taken the lead early in the second half through Romelu Lukaku.

But De Bruyne’s superb strike was no more than City deserved and enough to take them 13 points clear of Thomas Tuchel’s Blues.

City dominated from the start against a Chelsea side missing the majority of their first-choice defenders and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

As early as the fourth minute, stand-in Kepa Arrizabalaga cleared straight into Cesar Azpilicueta and behind for a corner.

And the tone was really set for the half when Marco Alonso was booked for a cynical trip after being humiliated by Raheem Sterling.

Alonso’s torment and City’s superiority lasted the whole half, but the home side forced only one challenging save from Arrizabalaga.

A mistake by Mateo Kovacic left Grealish bearing down on goal but out came the Spaniard to get a good touch on a rather tame shot.

Chelsea boss Tuchel spent much of the opening 45 minutes shaking his head and gesticulating in despair, mainly at Lukaku.

But less than two minutes into the second half he might have been celebrating.

Kovacic played Lukaku in behind Aymeric Laporte but Ederson came quickly off his line to stop the lofted shot near the edge of his penalty area.

City thought they had a penalty when Sterling went down under a challenge from Alonso, but Kyle Walker had been offside in the build-up.

Arrizabalaga made his second important intervention to keep out a De Bruyne free kick as City began to take control again.

Sterling went close before De Bruyne finally delivered the goal that had been in the post for most of the game.

Turning on to Joao Cancelo’s pass, he shrugged off N’Golo Kante’s challenge and curled a sumptuous shot past the Chelsea keeper from 20 yards.

Sterling teed up Foden with the chance to make the score line reflect City’s superiority better, but the England man’s shot was well off target.

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