Sports Desk, Jan 3 (efe-epa).- A great showing in the first half was all that Manchester City needed to take home three points for its 3-1 win over a defunct-looking Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Despite the uncertainty caused in the lineup by the coronavirus, Pep Guardiola’s team seemed in top form as it took the pitch in the 17th week of the Premier League season. With the victory, the team stands at No. 5 on the table, with Tottenham at No. 4.
Guardiola had to contend with the fact that Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus were on the sick list, but in addition wound up losing the services of Eric Garcia and Ederson, who are also out with Covid-19.
US goaltender Zacary Steffen made his debut in the net.
It took just 15 minutes for Man City to score thrice – between the 19th and 34th minutes, the first tally coming from Ilkai Gundogan, who received the ball from Phil Foden right in front of the net, did a half-turn and fired a blast that went right by Senegal’s Edouard Mendy.
The second goal came just two minutes later when, in rapid-fire action, a pass from Kevin De Bruyne was knocked in by Foden.
And the third was scored by the Belgian on a counterattack by Raheem Sterling, who sprinted the length of the pitch only to fire a shot that hit the post, whereupon De Bruyne recovered the ball and sent it into the twine.
The rhythm of the match settled down after that. Frank Lampard’s changes for the home squad had no effect and Chelsea never really got into the regular-time game, scoring its lone goal in injury time, the tally the work of Callum Hudson-Odoi.
With just one win in six matches, the London squad is now in eighth place on the table.
Meanwhile, in Sunday’s early game, Leicester edged a tight encounter 2-1 thanks to second half goals from James Maddison and Youri Tielemans.
After a goalless first half that was short on clear chances, the Foxes opened the scoring in the 56th minute through Maddison’s rising shot from the edge of the box following good work from Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy down the left channel.
As Newcastle committed more and more men forward in search of an equalizer, Leicester were well poised to double their advantage on the counter attack.
With 20 minutes left to play, Youri Tielemans added a goal of pure class as he stole the ball while Newcastle tried to mount an attack, spread it wide to Marc Albrighton before sweeping in the return pass with a fierce first-time shot from outside the box.
The game looked to be winding down to a home defeat, but the Magpies had other ideas, turning to their often-injured target man Andy Carroll who entered the fray from the bench He had an immediate impact, scoring with one of his first touches from a deflected cross at a free kick to set up an uncomfortable final 10 minutes for the visitors.
While Newcastle kept pressing for an equalizer and did get into some good crossing positions, Leicester had the better chances to add to their tally, but Carl Darlow was equal to Vardy’s near-post shot.
The win sees Leicester go into third place, one point behind the front two albeit having played a game more.
Newcastle stay in 15th place, eight points from the relegation zone. EFE