Manchester City did what Arsenal couldn’t do on Tuesday: they won despite not playing at their best. The reigning Premier League champions narrowly defeated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge 1-0 on the night.

City boss Pep Guardiola spoke about needing to be ‘almost perfect‘ to catch the Gunners prior to the game. Although they were far from perfect, City did pick up the three points.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the match on Thursday was the fact that Erling Haaland did not score. The superstar striker already has 21 league goals. That’s more than the entire Chelsea team during the current campaign.

Blues currently in injury crisis

Chelsea entered the massive match with eight players sidelined due to various injuries. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Reece James, N’Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana, Armando Broja, Edouard Mendy and Mason Mount all missed the City game. Mount was a late scratch due to picking up a knock in training the previous day.

Injury issues for the Blues would only worsen on Thursday. Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic were both substituted early in the first half due to injuries. The attacking duo both appeared to have lower body muscle issues.

Despite the injuries, Chelsea started the game fairly well. They were the better side for the first 30-40 minutes. In fact, Haaland didn’t get touch the ball until 20 minutes into the match and City didn’t register a shot until the 33rd minute.

Nevertheless, City eventually woke up and soon put on the pressure. With the scoreline level 60 minutes into the game, Guardiola brought on Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez. Both players would link up for the lone goal on the night. The England international put in a low cross directly in front of goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. All Mahrez had to do was connect with the ball to put it into the net from just a few yards out.

Although it was a good pass by Grealish, questions surely need to be asked of Kepa. The Spanish keeper was frozen as he watched the ball pass by right in front of him. It certainly seemed as if Kepa could have attempted to collect or clear the ball.

Man City and Chelsea heading in different directions

The defeat means that Chelsea remain in 10th place. They are currently behind fellow London clubs Fulham and Brentford at the moment. The Blues have now collected just six points in their last eight league matches.

City, on the other hand, are now only five points behind league-leading Arsenal. The two clubs still have to face each other twice in the top flight this season.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Sportimage