ETIHAD STADIUM, MANCHESTER — Manchester City put an injury-hit Chelsea to the sword with a swaggering 4-0 win in the third round of the FA Cup.
Riyad Mahrez scored the only goal when the sides met at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League three days ago and the Algeria winger opened the scoring again in the 23rd minute, this time dispatching a sumptuous free-kick for his seventh goal of the season and fourth since the start of November.
Julian Alvarez made a first start for City since starring in Argentina’s run to World Cup glory and he fired home a penalty with half an hour played after Kai Havertz inexplicably handballed.
Pep Guardiola’s side played fitfully in west London during midweek but they turned on the style against a flagging Chelsea with a wonderful team goal that saw Phil Foden effectively seal a place in round four before halftime, where the six-time winners will face Premier League leaders Arsenal or Oxford United.
Man City vs Chelsea final score
MCI — Riyad Mahrez — 23rd minute
MCI — Julian Alvarez (pen) — 30th minute
MCI — Phil Foden — 39th minute
MCI — Riyad Mahrez (pen) — 85th minute
Rodri, Sergio Gomez and Cole Palmer exchanged slick one-touch passes before the former switched play to Mahrez. The in-form winger found a typically delightful touch and played in the under-lapping Kyle Walker to cross for Foden to tap home.
A raft of substitutions and Chelsea’s first-half ordeal combined to make the second half a less compelling spectacle until Mahrez added gloss to the scoreline, thumping City’s second penalty of the afternoon into the top corner after Kalidou Koulibaly responded to Bernardo Silva’s driving run and pass by blundering into the back of Foden.
Why did Chelsea fans chant for Thomas Tuchel?
It’s been a horrible few months for Graham Potter, who must feel like he didn’t fully read the small print on his dream job at Stamford Bridge. There is mitigation — the midweek injuries to Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling ticked Chelsea’s first-team injury list into double figures. Also, City’s first and third goals on Sunday were right out of the top drawer.
However, Chelsea have a squad with enviable depth. Despite the absentees, the likes of Mason Mount, Jorginho, Conor Gallagher, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic were able to start. The latter two were hauled off at halftime and could have no complaints, while Ziyech looked a shadow of the player who shone for Morocco at the World Cup. Gallagher again looked a pale imitation of the man who thrived on loan at Crystal Palace last season.
Domestically, Chelsea have won two of their past 10 and one of the most recent eight in all competitions. A section of the away support booed at the end of both halves and others sung for Thomas Tuchel, the Champions League-winning manager, who was sacked earlier this season.
“We were second best to a very, very good side. We’re not in a great moment ourselves,” Potter said. “At 2-0, you have to chase the ball against Manchester City and are caught between committing more men and not getting opened up. The first half was painful. Clearly, we’re suffering as a football club.”
Potter acknowledged, City were possibly the worst team to be facing in the circumstances and, despite some Chelsea fans clearly thinking otherwise, Guardiola believes he should be given an opportunity to turn things around. “I would say to [Chelsea owner] Todd Boehly give him time,” he said. “I know in big clubs results are important but I’d say give him time. What he has done in Brighton is outstanding. All the managers need time. In Barcelona I didn’t need two seasons because I had Messi there, one season is enough.
Why is Riyad Mahrez back on form?
When quizzed about why certain members of his team weren’t playing in recent games, Guardiola said he paid special attention to body language. The talent of his City squad is beyond doubt and much comes down to attitude for the Catalan tactician.
The resurgent Mahrez is the latest example of this. The Algeria winger’s brace took his goals tally for the season to eight. Half of those have come since the World Cup, with three this week at Chelsea’s expense and another to help down Liverpool in the Carabao Cup.
“The quality from Riyad is everything. He loves to play football. He helped us to break the game with a fantastic free-kick. He played an outstanding game,” Guardiola said.
“Riyad in important games is a fantastic player, I know how important he is. Riyad came on in the last game at Chelsea and was fantastic. At Aston Villa [earlier in the season] he came on and we drew. Sometimes I have to let them see in the mirror who they are. Since we came back, he is playing really, really well.”
If Mahrez has put a period of low form and mood behind him from earlier in the campaign, he can still be a huge asset to Guardiola and help to ease the scoring burden that has fallen increasingly upon Erling Haaland, who enjoyed a rare weekend with his feet up as City ran riot.
Man City vs Chelsea live updates, highlights from the FA Cup
Fulltime: That's a wrap. City were not at their best when they edged a 1-0 Premier League win over Chelsea in midweek but this was a demolition. To say Graham Potter has work to do at Stamford Bridge is a huge understatement and a few more afternoons like this might lead to the powers that be deciding the job is better off with someone else. The Blues have at least bolstered in the transfer market and will continue to do so. With Riyad Mahrez back in this sort of form, Pep Guardiola will feel like he has a new signing.
90th minute: There will be two additional minutes. Riyad Mahrez has been deservedly announced as man of the match in the stadium.
87th minute: Bernardo Silva's fine play in the build-up to the penalty was his last act. Rico Lewis comes on. Mahrez marauds towards the Chelsea box, ignoring Julian Alvarez and seeking a hat-trick. The visitors manage to scramble clear this tie.
85th minute: GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!!!! Riyad Mahrez (pen)!!!
Mahrez has endured some mixed fortunes from the penalty spot but, on current form, there was little doubt there as he lashed into the top left corner.
84th minute: Penalty to City. Bernardo Silva runs through midfield and slips Phil Foden into the box. Kalidou Koulibaly blunders into the back of him. Riyad Mahrez is going to take this one.
78th minute: Another Chelsea attack orchestrated by Omari Hutchinson ends with Denis Zakaria having a shot deflected behind by Manuel Akanji. The City defender took a lot of that, it's a cold evening and it hurt.
77th minute: Omar Hutchinson is getting a lot of space down the City left. His latest ball into the box can't quite find Carney Chukwuemeka as Kyle Walker mops up but he's undoubtedly been a bright spark.
74th minute: Better from Chelsea, as a long ball forward finds Cesar Azpilicueta in space. Omari Hutchinson drives a low ball into the box but it's behind David Fofana.
73rd minute: He had a touch start to the season but all the swagger is back in Riyad Mahrez's play now. He cuts inside in trademark fashion and whips in a curling left-footed shot that is this close to going in. Kepa Arrizabalaga had given that one up.
71st minute: Omari Hutchinson strides forward with the ball trying to make something happen. Cesar Azpilicueta smacks a routine return pass out for a goal kick. That pretty much sums up Chelsea's afternoon - it's been the experienced heads rather than the youngsters who have let them down.
69th minute: Cole Palmer and Joao Cancelo are now getting a running commentary on their every move from Pep Guardiola. I'm sure that's loads of fun and absolutely not weirdly intense at 3-0.
66th minute: Chelsea enjoy a spell of pressure but Mahrez steals in and there's a chance for City to break. He floats the ball over to the left for Alvarez. The Argentina forward sizes up Kalidou Koulibaly before coming inside and recycling possession to Cole Palmer. Pep Guardiola absolutely loved that piece of unselfish play on the touchline.
62nd minute: Kyle Walker flips a pass over the Joao Cancelo, who controls on his chest and flicks the ball over Conor Gallagher's head. Gallagher obliges with a foul in the pantomime style and is booked. Another Chelsea youngster into the fray as Omari Hutchinson replaces the ineffective Hakim Ziyech. Cesar Azpilicueta comes on for Bashir Humphreys, who might envy those players who get more straightforward debuts.
59th minute: Rodri does indeed come off and Kalvin Phillips gets a warm reception, with Sergio Gomez the man to make way for Joao Cancelo
57th minute: Kyle Walker stretches his legs and has a little bit of a run at Lewis Hall. Maybe because he's just seen Joao Cancelo getting ready to come off the City bench. Kalvin Phillips will be joining us soon too, with Rodri's booking perhaps hastening that change.
55th minute: Quick free-kick from Conor Gallagher catches City out, Mason Mount fires across goal and Stefan Ortega is at full stretch to tip behind.
54th minute: A few nice touches here and there from the likes of Foden and Haaland but there's understandably a bit of a testimonial feel to the start of this second half. Rodri fouls Mason Mount, has a bit of a row with him and gets booked. That should get everyone going.
46th minute: We're back underway. David Fofana is on for his Chelsea debut as Kai Havertz's afternoon to forget comes to a mercifully early close. Denis Zakaria comes on for Mateo Kovacic to try and bolster an overrun midfield.
Halftime: There are boos from some of those Chelsea fans who haven't already headed for refreshments/headed home altogether. They're in a terrible spot at the moment and you have to feel for Graham Potter to an extent. Mahrez's opener was a majestic free-kick and City's third goal was a little masterpiece. Kai Havertz's dressing room explanation for his handball in the middle of all that should be fun.
45th minute: Almost 4-0! Cole Palmer sends the ball across the face of goal but a stretching Julian Alvarez can't get on the end of it.
39th minute: GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!!!! Phil Foden!!!!!!
Halftime was starting to look far too far away for Chelsea and that was simply delightful stuff from City. Sergio Gomez, Rodri and Cole Palmer played some triangles with the odd flick and backheel before the ball was pinged right to Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez did one of those first touches, passed to the under-lapping Kyle Walker, who teed up Foden for a simple finish. Glorious football.
37th minute: Perhaps fearful that Kai Havertz might try to punch another one clear, Kepa strides off his line to claim the corner with authority.
36th minute: Mahrez strikes it sweetly again but it's above Kepa Arrizabalaga's head this time and he punches over.
35th minute: Box-of-tricks time for Foden, who volleys a backheeled flick to Alvarez. He can't get to the return and the ball loops back to Kepa. But, blimey, there's a swagger about City now that's a dreadful sight for Chelsea. Bernardo Silva is fouled right on the edge of the box by Kalidou Koulibaly.
33rd minute: Chelsea obviously have to open up a little more now, but that will leave an inexperienced defence expose. Phil Foden just sauntered through midfield to find Cole Palmer. The attack was snuffed out but it feels like there's plenty more joy to be had for City.
30th minute: GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!!!! Julian Alvarez (pen)!!!
Kepa guesses correctly but Alvarez's kick is struck hard and low to the left. As we learned recently, the Argentinian lads are quite good at penalties.
29th minute: Penalty to City! Kai Havertz, what are you doing? A brainless handball, spotted by VAR. Julian Alvarez to take...
23rd minute: GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!!!!! Riyad Mahrez!!!!!
Ohhhh my! An absolute doozy of a free-kick from Mahrez. Whipped into the top right corner, leaving Kepa Arrizabalaga with little chance.
22nd minute: Julian Alvarez barrels forward from midfield. His pass is a little behind Riyad Mahrez, who checks inside and draws the foul from Lewis Hall. Free-kick to City in a decent position about 30 yards from goal.
21st minute: Hakim Ziyech gets goalside of Sergio Gomez and takes a tumble. The referee isn't interested but that was a dicey moment for the young full-back.
19th minute: Big chance for Cole Palmer, who should really do better! Aymeric Laporte released his teammate with a glorious ball over the top. Palmer strode into the Chelsea back from the left but his finish lacked conviction and Kepa Arrizabalaga touched behind at his near post. In an attempt to make amends, the ball broke to Palmer form the resulting corner and he smashed it way over.
16th minute: Some gorgeous Chelsea interplay in midfield looks to have released Mason Mount, but the England man knows you don't get away from Kyle Walker that easily. Manuel Akanji and Bernardo Silva are also back as City hunt in packs to snuff out the danger.
12th minute: Sergio Gomez gets the better of Trevoh Chalobah and sends a ball into the box, where Julian Alvarez is adjudged to have fouled Kalidou Koulibaly before Phil Foden sends an improvised overhead kick just wide.
10th minute: Lewis Hall gets a bit of an education from Riyad Mahrez, who unceremoniously skins the youngster. Kalidou Koulibaly gets back to take some of the pace off the Algerian's cross and Kepa Arrizabalaga gathers.
8th minute: City get a touch casual with their playing out from the back. Kai Havertz spots an opportunity and darts into challenge Rodri. The Spain midfield cops for some studs on the ankle but he'll be okay to continue.
6th minute: Alvarez once again makes a nuisance of himself in Kepa's immediate vicinity. One to keep an eye on!
5th minute: City are camped in the Chelsea half but Cole Palmer has his pocket picked by Conor Gallagher. The visitors break but Manuel Akanji beats Kai Havertz to the throughball.
4th minute: Some typically rabid pressure from Julian Alvarez, closing Kepa Arrizabalaga on his goalline, but the Chelsea keeper deals with the pressure.
1st minute: We're off. Looks like back fours for both teams. Phil Foden is in attacking midfield for City, with Cole Palmer outside him on the left flank.
2 mins from kickoff: The teams are out, the floodlights are on, nice atmosphere bubbling. The Chelsea fans are singing Gianluca Vialli's name and there will be a moment's respect for the Italy great before we get going.
15 mins from kickoff: Well, well, well, the winner of Manchester City vs Chelsea will face Oxford United or Arsenal in round four. The Premier League leaders are obviously huge favourites in tomorrow's clash with League One opposition at the Kassam Stadium and, if they progress to face City, it could make for a mouthwatering meeting ahead of their eagerly anticipated top-of-the-table clash with the Gunners in the Premier League on February 15.
30 mins from kickoff: Just in case you weren't finding football in the English winter of 2022/23 disorientating enough, the FA Cup fourth round draw is about to take place, so City and Chelsea will know what awaits them by the time they kickoff.
40 mins from kickoff: So, a little bit more on that Chelsea team. Graham Potter has made six changes from midweek and some of those suggest the Premier League remains his priority despite the Blues languishing in mid-table. There's a debut for teenage defender Bashir Humphreys. The 19-year-old is a centre-back by trade but could line up at right back unless Graham Potter opts for the back three that Pep Guardiola anticipated in midweek.
On the left of defence, Lewis Hall gets another start having impressed on this ground in November and also during a substitute cameo against City on Thursday. It's been a tough start to life at Chelsea for Potter in many respects, but he appears committed to giving graduates of the club's celebrated Cobham academy a chance. That has not generally been the case with his predecessors, Frank Lampard excepted.
58 mins from kickoff: And here's your Chelsea XI. There's certainly a youthful look to it! Mason Mount does indeed return.
1hr from kickoff: The teams are in. Julian Alvarez makes his first City start since his World Cup heroics, alongside midweek matchwinner Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden in attack. Sergio Gomez makes his first start since these sides met here in the Carabao Cup in November.
1hr 20 mins from kickoff: Both managers are likely to shuffle their packs given the quick turnaround and Mason Mount is expected to start for Chelsea. The England attacking midfielder would certainly be a welcome sight for Blues fans. Chelsea have lost each of their past four games against City without scoring a goal. Mount has played 31 minutes in total across those matches, having been unable to start any of them.
1 hr 40 mins from kickoff: City and Chelsea reconvene three days on from Riyad Mahrez scoring the only goal in the Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge. Unfortunately, since then, the world of football has been mourning the untimely death of former Sampdoria, Juventus, Chelsea and Italy striker Gianluca Vialli. Both sets of players and supporters will pay tribute to Vialli before kickoff and Pep Guardiola also had some warm words in his programme notes for today's game.
2 hrs from kickoff: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News' live coverage of Manchester City vs Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup. City are trying to make it two wins in a row against the London side.
Man City vs Chelsea lineups
Julian Alvarez made his first start since the World Cup final as Erling Haaland rested up on the Manchester City bench.
Cup goalkeeper Stefan Ortega replaced Ederson after impressing in the League Cup tie between the sides, which was the last time Spanish left-back Sergio Gomez got a start. The Spanish left-back returns, with the more experienced Kyle Walker manning the other flank.
Man City XI (4-2-3-1): Ortega (GK) — Walker, Akanji, Laporte, Gomez — Rodri, Gundogan — Mahrez, Palmer, Foden — Alvarez
Potter's injury problems suffered a fresh hit during the midweek defeat to City, with attackers Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic each limping out of the action early on. That took the list of first-team absentees into double figures, although Mason Mount returned to an XI that included rookie full-backs Bashir Humphreys and Lewis Hall.
Kepa Arrizabalaga's role in Mahrez's winner was questioned on Thursday, but he is set to remain between the posts after Edouard Mendy suffered a fresh injury setback. The Senegal goalkeeper has undergone surgery on a fractured finger.
New signings Benoit Badiashile and David Fofana were on the bench as Trevoh Chalobah partnered Kalidou Koulibaly at centre-back
Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1): Kepa (GK) — Humphreys, Chalobah, Koulibaly, Hall — Kovacic, Jorginho — Gallagher, Ziyech, Mount — Havertz
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