So Manchester City is just four wins from lifting the Premier League title. The Citizens dominated proceedings from start to finish against last seasons champions Chelsea. Whilst Antonio Conte's team lacked any real cutting edge or drive to change the game during the contest. City now have a demanding eighteen point lead at the top of the table.
City set the tone in the first half, controlling possession and having the majority of the chances. A fine back post cross from Kevin De Bruyne picked out Leroy Sané, his snapshot looked goal bound however Azpilicueta go their just in time to clear off the line.
Just minutes before the break Man City had the ball in the back of the net. However, Sergio Agüero just mistimed his run from De Bruyne's smart free-kick and was rightly flagged offside.
Just 35 seconds after the restart and City opened the scoring. David Silva picked out his namesake Bernardo Silva with a cross that had the Chelsea backline scrambling, the Portuguese winger was on hand for the simplest of finishes. City continued to boss possession, whilst frustratingly Chelsea didn't change up their tactics electing to hold back and take City on the break.
False nine Eden Hazard cut a frustrated figure up on his own, especially in the second half and his reaction to being subbed late in the second half summed up his side's performance. At full time, City boss Pep Guardiola enthusiastically congratulated his coaching staff and players. With this 1-0 win over last seasons champions being a huge step in confirming City's status as the best side in the country.
93- Full time. 1-0 Man City. The most dominant 1-0 you will see in a while. The Citizens bossed that game from start to finish. As for Chelsea, tactitally they played into City's hands.
93- Final chance of the game for Chelsea! The ball falls to Alonso who shapes to shoot, the Spaniard scuffs his shot wide.
92- David Silva wanders off the pitch. A fresh-faced Phil Foden is on the pitch for two minutes. That was the last sub for Man City
90- Four minutes extra time. Chelsea don't look likely to score here.
88- Hazard is taken off for Chelsea, Morata comes on. That's Chelsea's final sub for today
86- Second sub for City Zinchenko is taken off Danilo trots onto the pitch.
84- City makes a change. Agüero walks off to a generous applause, Gabriel Jesus comes on in his place.
81- Long ball from Fabregas. Giroud gets his head to it. Trickles well wide. Meanwhile Emerson is on, Pedro makes way.
79- Hello... Chelsea has a corner. Fabregas fails to beat the first man.
77- As expected. Giroud comes on for Willian.
76- It's the same pattern as the first half. Man City have all the ball. Chelsea happy to sit back. Sané smashes the ball across the face of the goal. No one is around for the tap in.
74- Olivier Giroud is primed to come on. Willian is set to come off. Conte has finally decided to change it up.
70- STATS UPDATE- 93% passing accuracy from City. That seems to be okay.
69- Chelsea spring forward on the break with Pedro! His pass to Hazard is overhit. Conte looks despondent. Nearly 70 minutes, no changes made.
67- Trickery from Bernardo Silva as he beats a man. However, his cross flies out of play.
64- Conte casts a downbeat figure on the sidelines. Wearing a cap he's just staring aimlessly into space. Poor Guy.
60- Yet more possession for City. Chelsea doesn't seem too interested in attacking. No changes so far from Conte.
56- Yellow for Rüdiger. Persistent fouls from the German defender.
53- A rare foray forward from Chelsea. The ball is passed to Moses who is bearing down on goal. He smashes the ball high and wide. On the plus side, that is the Blues first shot of the game. IN THE 53RD MINUTE.
45- GOAL! Just like that City are 1-0 up! The two Silva's link up! David passes to Bernardo and the winger makes no mistake from close range! City 1-0 up after 35 seconds of the first half!
Peep! Second half is underway!
Some damming half-time stats from Opta Joe. Chelsea has severely lacked ambition in the first 15
0 - Chelsea have failed to register a single shot in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time since 2003-04 (when we have this data available). Stifled.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 4, 2018
45- Halftime- 0-0 Chelsea are doggedly defending and are showing little ambition. City has all the possession, and have lacked penetration. The second half should be interesting.
45- Long ball tactics from Chelsea as Rüdiger smashes the ball forward- We have 1 minute of extra time.
41- The ball is in the net for City! But the goal is ruled offside for Agüero's run. Close!
39- Hazard has cut a lonely figure leading the line so far in the first half. Plenty of angry gestures when Fabregas elects not to pass to the Belgian
36- Bernardo Silva is having a funny five minutes. He sprays a cross-field ball well wide to Sané who knocks the ball out of play. Uncharacteristic.
32- That is a bad miss! Delicious buildup play again from City with David Silva leaving the ball for Bernardo Silva, however, the Portuguese international smashes his shot well wide.
26- Cleared off the line! De Bruyne whips in a freekick to the back post. Which is killed by Sané with an insanely good first touch. His shot has Courtois beaten but Azpilicueta clears off the line. Close!
23- Chelsea on the break? The referee plays a good advantage, and Willian goes of a run down the wing, his cross is cleared by the City defence. After the play is stopped, Zinchenko picked up a yellow for his sliding tackle on Moses
19- Tricky run from Sané, the ball eventually finds its way to Bernardo Silva, his curled effort which ends on the top of the net.
14- Seems to be attack vs defence at the minute. Man City happy to have plenty of the ball. Zinchenko whips in a cross which is promptly cleared by Rüdiger.
11- Stats Ahoy! It's just flashed up that City has had 82% of possession. Which is pretty staggering.
10- More magic build-up play from City, with David Silva crossing for Leroy Sane, who is crowded out in the penalty box.
5- Man City are bossing possession from the get-go. De Bruyne clips a perfect ball for Aguero the ball creeps out for a goal kick.
2 The first corner of the game for Man City, De Bruyne tries to pick out Aguero, but the ball is hoofed out of play. David Silva knocks the set-piece long.
Kick-off! Chelsea in their slightly darker blue strip get us underway!
The Carabao cup is being paraded! Cheers ahoy from the City fans. Heart warming scenes.
Man City are just four victories away from claiming the Premier League crown! Can they make it three with a big win against last seasons champions Chelsea? We are minutes away from Kick-off at the Etihad Stadium!
The world of football has been rocked by the devastating news of the passing of Italian defender Davide Astori who passed away at the age of 31. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has paid tribute to the Fiorentina captain.
Antonio Conte has paid tribute to Davide Astori, who sadly passed away earlier today.— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 4, 2018
Conte said: ‘This is a tragedy. It’s very difficult, at this moment, to find the right words for the family. I had him with the national team.
Chelsea up next! Kante has not made the matchday squad through illness which is a big loss for the blues. Danny Drinkwater takes his place in the heart of midfield.
Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Fabregas, Drinkwater, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro.— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 4, 2018
Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Emerson, Chalobah, Giroud, Morata. #MCICHE pic.twitter.com/Ws29PUw4ay
Team News! We have team news in! Man City first! Laporte returns to the side. The French defender has started life well at City and his return is a huge boost for Guardiola.
Let's go! 🙌— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 4, 2018
City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Bernardo, Sane, Silva (c), De Bruyne, Aguero
Subs | Bravo, Stones, Kompany, Danilo, Jesus, Yaya Toure, Foden
Presented by @HAYSWorldwide pic.twitter.com/KJgKsHa8jG
It's another Sunday blockbuster in the Premier League as runaway league leaders Man City take on last seasons Champions Chelsea. As ever you can watch the match Live on HD 11.