Manchester City celebrated their Premier League title triumph with a 1-0 win over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Julian Alvarez’s first-half strike was enough for a second string City side to clinch all three points over the Blues, who saw their two-game unbeaten run come to an end as they suffered a sixth consecutive defeat to City.
It was an afternoon which went as expected. Despite making nine changes to his lineup, Pep Guardiola’s side started as they have done so all season to begin the title party in Manchester.
Julian Alvarez was called into the side to replace the prolific Erling Haaland and he stepped up to score City’s 100th goal at home in all competitions to give the hosts the lead after 12 minutes. Wesley Fofana, usually a dependable figure at the back for Chelsea, misplaced a pass and Cole Palmer fed in the Argentine who punished by firing into the bottom corner past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
City were in high spirits and it was showing in their dominant display. Trevoh Chalobah was forced to clear Cole Palmer’s effort off the line after some well-worked build-up play from him, Rico Lewis and Phil Foden. Foden was oozing with confidence. He attempted an audacious lob over Kepa but his dink landed, to the relief of Chelsea, just wide.
Chelsea began to knock on the door as they searched for a leveller. Raheem Sterling had their first huge chance but his one-on-one effort was saved by Stefan Ortega, who came in for Ederson in between the sticks.
Conor Gallagher then went one inch closer nine minutes before half-time. Lewis Hall’s fantastic cross found its way to the back post, but the midfielder was denied by the post.
Kalvin Phillips almost doubled the advantage for the hosts but his header cannoned off the post and away from danger.
Hall was Chelsea’s most impressive player at the Etihad. In the absence of Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella, the versatile youngster continued to step up. He was left frustrated by Ortega who kept him out on two occasions early in the second half.
Chelsea’s struggles in front of goal this season continued as Sterling, who was eventually pulled up for offside, saw his effort cleared off the line by substitute John Stones.
Frustration was creeping in for the visitors as the game continued to wind down to, at points, walking pace. Enzo Fernandez was booked for booting the ball away after Michael Oliver awarded a free-kick to Man City.
With 21 minutes to play, Lampard made his first changes. Noni Madueke and Mykhailo Mudryk were brought on for Sterling, who received a standing ovation from his former club’s fans, and Gallagher.
Chelsea were nearly punished for failing to put their chances away. Alvarez put the ball in the back of the net for his second of the game, but Riyad Mahrez’s handling of the ball saw the goal disallowed.
Guardiola brought the big guns of Erling Haaland, Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne on for the final stages of the game. Haaland almost made an instant impact but could only drag his cross-cum-shot wide.
City were unable to add to their early goal and rode out for a narrow, but convincing 1-0, win despite Chelsea’s chances.
It was a day of celebration in Manchester and there was no hangover for City who kept their winning run going to ensure it was the perfect day at the Etihad as they prepared to lift their third Premier League title in a row.
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