London (AFP) – Chelsea inflicted champions Manchester City’s first Premier League defeat of the season with a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge that allowed Liverpool to go top of the table on Saturday.
N’Golo Kante and David Luiz were on target for Maurizio Sarri’s men as City paid for failing to take advantage of their first-half dominance.
“I am very happy with the win because it is not very easy to win against Manchester City or Pep Guardiola,” said Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.
Liverpool now lead City by a point after Mohamed Salah’s hat-trick secured an impressive 4-0 win at Bournemouth.
City had looked imperious in recent weeks, winning their previous seven Premier League games, and started in the same vein.
However, Pep Guardiola’s men missed the injured Sergio Aguero up front as Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane wasted early chances.
“Chelsea are a good team, good players but in the first half it was incredible, we were exceptional,” said Guardiola.
“In general we were fantastic. I don’t have any regrets, we came and showed we wanted to win.
“We created chances. They had one in 44 minutes and we conceded a goal, sometimes that happens.”
Chelsea had barely been in the City half before taking the lead approaching the break, when Eden Hazard teed up Kante to fire into the roof of the net.
However, it was the hosts who enjoyed the better of the second period and sealed a huge victory 12 minutes from time when Luiz’s looping header from Hazard’s corner dipped in via the crossbar.
“It is difficult for us to find motivation but when we are, we are a very strong team,” added Sarri.
“Today we played with a very good level of application, determination and the right level of aggressiveness.”
– Salah back to his best –
Salah had been rested from the start for Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Burnley that kept Jurgen Klopp’s men on City’s coat-tails, and the Egyptian looked to have benefited from a break as he looked more like the player who netted 44 goals in an incredible debut season at Anfield.
The visitors were slightly fortunate to take the lead on 25 minutes when Asmir Begovic fumbled Roberto Firmino’s long-range shot Salah’s follow-up effort was allowed to stand despite him appearing to be marginally offside.
Salah made the game safe by showing determination to stay on his feet despite being fouled before finding the bottom corner early in the second-half.