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Man City 4 – 0 Chelsea

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Manchester City defeated Chelsea for the second time in four days with a 4-0 win in the third round of the FA Cup to pile the pressure on Blues manager Graham Potter.

City were three up at half-time thanks to Riyad Mahrez’s magnificent free-kick, Julian Alvarez’s penalty and Phil Foden’s tremendous team goal. Mahrez added his second and City’s fourth from the spot late on to further underline the gulf between the two teams.

Pep Guardiola’s team can look forward to a tie at home to Arsenal if the Premier League leaders overcome Oxford United on Monday evening. As for Chelsea, it is the first time this century that the Blues find themselves not among the clubs in the fourth round.

The result adds to the pressure on Potter, who was only appointed in September. Chelsea have now lost six of their last nine matches in all competitions and have not tasted victory away from home since beating Red Bull Salzburg in October.

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Player ratings

Man City: Ortega (7), Walker (9), Akanji (8), Laporte (8), Gomez (7), Rodri (8), Bernardo (8), Palmer (7), Mahrez (9), Alvarez (8), Foden (9).

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Subs: Phillips (6), Cancelo (6), Lewis (n/a).

Chelsea: Kepa (6), Chalobah (5), Humphreys (6), Koulibaly (5), Hall (6), Jorginho (6), Kovacic (5), Gallagher (6), Mount (5), Ziyech (6), Havertz (3).

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Subs: Zakaria (6), Fofana (6), Azpilicueta (6), Hutchinson (6), Chukwuemeka.

Player of the match: Riyad Mahrez.

How Man City blew Chelsea away

It was Mahrez who scored the only goal of the game when these teams met in the Premier League on Thursday and he broke the deadlock again here. His curling free-kick from the right edge of the box arrowed into the top corner beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga’s dive.

If Chelsea could do little to stop that, the second was self-inflicted. Kai Havertz led with his hand when trying to clear a corner at the near post and the VAR could not miss it. Alvarez, starting for the first time since his World Cup win with Argentina, just about beat Kepa.

Team news

Pep Guardiola made seven changes to the Manchester City team from midweek. The four players to retain their places in the starting line-up were captain Kyle Walker, Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden. Aymeric Laporte made his return from injury.

Graham Potter made six changes to the Chelsea team that were beaten by the same opposition on Thursday evening. Bashir Humphreys was included in the starting line-up for the first time, while new signing Benoit Badiashile was named among the substitutes.

City had dropped points against Brentford and Everton in their last two Premier League games in front of their home supporters but they did not go two up then. With that advantage, the confidence grew and Guardiola’s side really started to purr.

What a goal their third of the first half was. Kyle Walker’s trickery got them moving, Foden and Rodri trading flicks, Mahrez found Walker’s overlapping run and there was Foden from close range to tap in. It was a goal typical of this City side at their absolute best.

Tributes to Vialli

The passing of former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli was marked by a minute of applause before kick-off with further chants from the away end in the ninth minute of the game as supporters held up signs in his honour.

Though the pace dropped thereafter, another good move brought the fourth goal when Kalidou Koulibaly clumsily bundled Foden to the ground and the referee had little choice but to point to the spot. Mahrez did the rest, lashing the ball high into the net.

There might even be an argument that City look more fluid with Alvarez making these unselfish runs up front than Erling Haaland, the team’s prolific striker, stood there banging them in himself. Either way, it is the sort of problem that Potter would love to have.

Throughout the second half, sections of the 8,000-strong travelling support chanted the name of his predecessor Thomas Tuchel, having earlier sang the name of the now departed owner Roman Abramovich. All is not well at Chelsea. The Man City machine rolls on.

Graham Potter's Chelsea are out of the FA Cup after a heavy defeat at Manchester City
Image:
Graham Potter’s Chelsea are out of the FA Cup after a heavy defeat at Manchester City

Guardiola’s FA Cup dream

Pep Guardiola’s programme notes:

“The FA Cup is a competition I love. It is recognised by everyone across the world as the most beautiful domestic tournament there is. I always remember watching the FA Cup final as a young boy in Catalonia and feeling the importance of the occasion. It was so special and something that has always stayed with me.

“When we won it in 2019, it was one of my best memories of my time here at City. We want to win it this season and, believe me, we will do everything we can to make our dream a reality.”

What’s next?

Manchester City’s next game is at Southampton in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports – kick-off 8pm.


Wednesday 11th January 7:30pm


Kick off 8:00pm


Pep Guardiola’s side then travel to neighbours Manchester United for a Premier League clash on Saturday – kick-off 12.30pm.

Chelsea’s next fixture is away to west London rivals Fulham in the Premier League on Thursday – kick-off 8pm.

The Blues then host Crystal Palace in another top-flight clash on Sunday – kick-off 2pm.

 

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