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Chelsea v Manchester City Live Commentary, 05/04/2017

2 - 1
E. Hazard (10)
E. Hazard (35)
S. Agüero (26)
Stamford Bridge


That's all for our live coverage from Stamford Bridge, thanks for following along. Goodbye!
A thrilling contest at Stamford Bridge ends with what is arguably Chelsea's most important victory to date under Antonio Conte! Eden Hazard's first half brace, see the Blues through by the narrowest of margins as Chelsea take a massive step towards the title - they haven't clinched it yet by any means, but it sure feels that way after tonight.
N. Kanté
Yellow Card
Kante goes into the book for a poor challenge, but the ensuing free-kick is dealt with and that may just about do it!
SHOCKING MISS! That should have tied it! No ifs, ands or buts, that should have been the equaliser! The ensuing corner is flicked on and falls directly into the path of Stones, wide open in the centre, but somehow he gets under it, sending his effort over the bar! Unbelievable!
WAS THAT THE CHANCE?! Three minutes of stoppage-time and City come to life out of nowhere! Nolito lifts an exquisite delivery in for Aguero at the far post. The striker slides in at full-stretch to meet it, but he's thwarted by Courtois!
R. Loftus-Cheek
E. Hazard
A roar of approval as these Chelsea supporters greet the final change of the night with a thunderous applause, as Hazard departs, having scored both the Blues' goals tonight, replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
You have to imagine that should Chelsea hold on to this lead, and it's looking that way now as they won't let City out of their own half, then they will have one hand on the trophy. Their remaining fixture list isn't very daunting, with the trip to Old Trafford in a fortnight the only real difficult test, at least on paper. It would take an unprecedented collapse and a perfect end to the season for Spurs to turn this title 'chase' into a 'race'.
Chelsea have taken the match over, as fatigue appears to have set in for City, who are struggling to get back on the ball. The Blues are spending a lot of time in attack here, and it's the new face of Willian who wins them a corner, in front of a patch of screaming supporters, urging their side through to the finish line.
L. Sané
Manchester City
Another roll of the dice from Guardiola, as City are running out of time. Nolito comes on for the final five minutes, replacing Sane.
V. Kompany
Yellow Card
Manchester City
Hostile appeals for a sending off from the Chelsea faithful as Kompany goes sliding into a challenge on Hazard with reckless abandon. It looked a lot worse initially that it actually wound up being in the end, so Dean does well to only produce a yellow.
Cesc Fàbregas
Substitutions taking over here, plaguing the tempo of the match. Chelsea use their second to replace Fabregas with Willian.
R. Sterling
K. De Bruyne
Manchester City
City need a match winner and maybe this man can provide it. Raheem Sterling enters the fray, at the expense of De Bruyne, with just over 10 minutes remaining.
F. Delph
Yellow Card
Manchester City
Delph puts in what looked something of a decent challenge, but Dean doesn't see it that way and issues the midfielder a yellow card.
HE'S SKIED IT! Massive chance goes begging for Chelsea! A measured attack by the hosts and a pull-back that comes for Fabregas, who makes a mess of the pass. It still runs through for Hazard, on a hat-trick, but he can't keep his composure as he rifles an effort over the bar!
STAT: Manchester City have lost just one of their last six Premier League games in London (W3 D2).
Chelsea get back and win a free-kick in a threatening area, which Luiz stands over, excitedly. The Brazilian takes a measured run up, but lashes his effort straight into the wall as the chance goes begging. Under 20 minutes to play now and it's on a knife edge.
City are having no luck in the air. They need to adopt a different approach in attack, because what they have going right now isn't working. There's a good width to them, but it's all a bit irrelevant if they can't make anything of the eventual crosses.
Naughty one from Fabregas as he takes every precaution to ensure Kompany is sent toppling over. The ensuing free-kick is lifted into the area from a long way out, and finds an orange shirt, but it's quickly played into the waiting arms of Courtois.
City are showing all the initiative, which is somewhat expected given the fact that they trail, but Chelsea have to be careful not to drop too deep. Courtois hasn't been troubled much by any means, but the Blues are going longer and longer between their spells in possession.
STAT: Antonio Conte hasn’t lost consecutive home league defeats as a manager since November 2009 while in charge of Atalanta.
Guardiola echoes the frustration of his players as Silva has a decision go against him in midfield. Silva has been on the wrong of a few calls, in his own opinion, and is being warned here by Mike Dean. Meanwhile, Guardiola pleads his case to the fourth official before being greeted by an empathetic Conte, who offers up a friendly handshake, which the Spanish boss accepts with a smile.
Anticipation builds as City win a free-kick in a threatening area, packing the penalty box with bodies. De Bruyne's delivery is played in low, however, and it's a very poor one for Sane as the German has to work hard just to win a corner out of it.
It's turning into a bit of a chess match now as Chelsea organise themselves off the ball and invite City to come after them. The Blues are like a pride of lions, sitting in the shade, waiting to pounce. City have to be careful not to get frustrated and open themselves up to much, or they will be punished.
City are very focused, or at least appear to be, in possession, as they park themselves in the attacking half and patiently search for an opening. Chelsea are so structured off the ball, however, which is making life very difficult on the visitors as they try and break down this wall of blue shirts.
STAT: There have been four red cards in the last five league meetings between these sides, with three being shown to Man City players.
G. Clichy
Yellow Card
Manchester City
Horribly timed! The tackles continue to come flying in and at this rate, if Dean doesn't take charge, it could lead to someone getting injured. He pulls out the yellow on this occasion and really didn't have much choice as Clichy flies in and takes out Pedro.
Fabregas is the victim of the latest foul, clipped and then stomped on accidentally by Clichy. Nothing more comes of it, as City quickly break the other way and win a free-kick of their own, which falls so kindly for Fernandinho in the area. The midfielder just snatches at it wildly, though, and skies his effort from eight yards!
A physical start to the second half as Kante gets a deserved talking to from referee Mike Dean following a very rash and unnecessary challenge on Silva, which has left the Spaniard a bit worse for wear. In fact, it was probably deserving of more than just a warning. The ensuing free-kick is headed back into the danger area by Kompany, and winds up smacking off the crossbar!
Here we go again!
N. Matić
K. Zouma
Nemanja Matic is on for the second half, replacing Zouma. This should prompt another reshuffle, with Azpilicueta expected to drop back, Fabregas to be pushed forward and Pedro to slide to wing-back.
Momentum stayed with the visitors, who looked poised to complete the turnaround, before Fernandinho's foul on Pedro saw Chelsea awarded a penalty, which Hazard eventually converted on the rebound after having his initial effort, a poor one at that, stopped by Caballero. And that's where we stand at the interval.
The stakes couldn't be higher at Stamford Bridge, and the match has lived up to the hype - at least for now. Eden Hazard opened the scoring for Chelsea with a deflected effort, but Thibault Courtois' error gifted City their equaliser shortly after.
The fourth official has indicated there will be just one minute added on at the end of this first half.
Chelsea are enjoying a controlled spell in possession as we approach half-time, urged on by these spirited supporters behind them. You can feel the tension all the way up in Manchester, as this tactical battle between two expertly coached sides unfolds in front of their eyes.
Over 40,000 fans at Stamford Bridge, enthralled, fixated on what has been an appropriate embodiment of a match of this magnitude. A spectacle in every regard and it remains as lively as ever as we enter the final five minutes of this first half, which may yet just have another twist in it.
STAT: Pep Guardiola has never previously lost both league games against a single opponent in a season as a manager in his career so far.
Ambitious from De Bruyne! With his skill you really can't fault him for trying. De Bruyne makes waves down the left and finds himself in a generous pocket of space, before trying to catch Courtois off his line, but the angle proves too tight in the end as the keeper is able to knock the attempt behind for a corner.
E. Hazard
HAZARD RESTORES CHELSEA'S LEAD! After having his initial penalty stopped, the Belgian sticks with it to bury the rebound - another massive moment in the title race!
E. Hazard
Penalty Miss
A really poor penalty from Hazard, who rolls it tamely to his right, but good determination and focus to stick with it and calmly slot home the rebound.
W. Caballero
Penalty Save
Manchester City
So unlucky from Caballero, who made the initial save, but really had little chance at keeping out the rebound. If only he could have parries that ot of play instead of knock it back into the centre.
PENALTY TO CHELSEA! Fernandinho can hardly believe his error! There's no doubt about the decision and no argument whatsoever from the midfielder, who sticks a lazy leg out and clearly trips Pedro to ground.
Manchester City have responded really well, and Chelsea's confidence appears to be shaken here. The visitors are getting forward at every opportunity as they continue to dictate possession and limit the Blues' looks at the other end. This is exactly the sort of character you would expect from a Pep Guardiola managed side.
STAT: Sergio Aguero has now scored seven Premier League goals against Chelsea, with five of those coming at Stamford Bridge.
REDEMPTION FOR COURTOIS! Not sure how much that will console him, but it's certainly a start! Silva produces a delicious throughball to play Sane in, but Courtois is off his line in a flash to close down the angle and deny City a second in as many minutes!
S. Agüero
Manchester City
COURTOIS' GIFT, CITY LEAD! Dreadful from Courtois, whose pass out from the back is nowhere close to finding a blue shirt. He passes it straight to Silva, and while Courtois manages to save the initial effort, he has little chance at keeping out Aguero's rebound.
The tempo is starting to pick up a bit as both teams get a better feel for the rhythm of the match. City look a lot more comfortable on the ball, while Chelsea are content with conceding possession and biding their time before hitting on the break. The Blues' latest counter leads to another deflected effort that narrowly misses, crashing onto the roof of the net.
Smart run! City are doing a much better job now of getting into the channels and opening up space for the ball carrier. Aguero leads the latest attack and pieces together a crafty run into the final third, but he doesn't get the best contact on his final effort as fails to trouble Courtois.
Electrifying strike! Clever movement off the ball from the City attackers helps to open up space for Fernandinho, who decides to try his luck from just under 25 yards. He makes superb contact with the strike, stinging the palms of Courtois, who does well to parry.
STAT: Chelsea haven’t lost back to back Premier League games at Stamford Bridge since November 2011 under Andre Villas-Boas.
There really has not been much of an attacking threat posed by either side thus far. City have kept close to 65 per cent possession, but have precious little to show for it. Guardiola's side haven't even penetrated the Chelsea penalty area, let alone test Courtois, while one attack was all the Blues needed to snatch the lead.
Of course Chelsea simply need to worry about taking care of business themselves, but they will be further spurred on by the news of Wayne Routledge's opener at the Liberty Stadium, as Swansea currently lead Tottenham in the first half in Wales. Conte couldn't have drawn up a better start to the evening.
Has to be better! City try and mount a quick response, and it nearly happens for them as they break three against two. Sane leads the charge, but telegraphs his pass for Aguero, which is actually behind the striker, halting all his momentum and allowing Luiz to get a block in.
César Azpilicueta
Azpilicueta, pushed up to wing-back tonight from centre-half, rewards his manager's decision with an assist after just 10 minutes.
E. Hazard
A STEP TOWARDS THEIR CORONATION! Chelsea take a big leap towards the title as they get off to a dream start at the Bridge! Azpilicueta make strides down the right and pulls it back for Hazard, whose first-time effort takes a slight deflection off Kompany to help it beyond Caballero! It's unlucky for the keeper, but he did make a real meal of that.
STAT: Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick in this exact fixture last season as City won 3-0 – one of just three opposing players to hit a treble in a Premier League game at Stamford Bridge (Kanu in October 1999 and Robin van Persie in October 2011).
Sergio Aguero is getting booed every time he touches the ball, which isn't all that often actually. These fans remember his performance here last season, scoring all three goals in a lopsided Manchester City defeat. Of course the teams have changed a great deal since then, as has the Premier League landscape.
Both teams are getting a feel for one another in these opening five minutes. City are enjoying more time on the ball, but showing precious little intent in possession. Chelsea's looks have been limited, but they're doing well to break quickly when they do win it back.
Plenty of harmless possession for both sides in the early stages, until out of nothing Chelsea have a chance. Azpilicueta finds himself unmarked at the far post as a cross comes in, but instead of swinging his foot through it, he tries to play it back into the centre and City clear the danger.
AND THEY'RE OFF! A massive, title-shaping, season-altering night in Stamford Bridge, is underway. Manchester City in orange as they kick-off, attacking left to right, with Chelsea in blue.
Pep Guardiola makes two surprise changes to his side from Saturday's 2-2 draw with Arsenal. Vincent Kompany comes into defence, making just his third start of the season, replacing Nicolas Otamendi, while Fabian Delph makes a rare appearance in the starting XI as Raheem Sterling is dropped.
Antonio Conte makes just one change to his side from the defeat to Crystal Palace, which prompts a lot of reshuffling. With Victor Moses still unavailable, it's Azpilicueta who pushes up to wing-back, opening up space for Kurt Zouma to come into the side in defence. Pedro is pushed back into the attacking trident, moving Cesc Fabregas to midfield, as Nemanja Matic drops to the bench.
SUBS: Bravo, Zabaleta, Fernando, Sterling, Nolito, Kolarov, Toure.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-2-3-1): Caballero; Navas, Kompany, Stones, Clichy; Fernandinho, Delph; De Bruyne, Silva, Sane; Aguero.
SUBS: Begovic, Ake, Loftus-Cheek, Matic, Willian, Batshuayi, Terry.
CHELSEA (3-4-3): Courtois; Zouma, Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Hazard, Costa.
It’s safe to say the focus for Pep Guardiola’s side remains on finishing in the top-three and securing an automatic berth in the group stages of next season’s Champions League – though they can take solace in the fact that this is their last game of the season against a side currently above them in the table.
Manchester City’s title hopes are razor thin, as they enter the match 11 points back of the leaders, courtesy of three successive Premier League draws. If they are to be taken at all seriously in the title race, three points are an absolute must for them tonight.
Seven points is still a comfortable lead for the Blues with nine games remaining but, all of a sudden, the window of opportunity has opened up slightly for Tottenham. Another slip tonight for Chelsea could blow the title race open as they travel to Bournemouth and Manchester United in their next two.
Chelsea saw their gap shrink to seven points as they were stunned in a 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday. It was a first defeat for Antonio Conte’s side since January 4, so there’s no reason to panic, but their margin for error is lessening.
Hello and welcome to Stamford Bridge for this monumental Premier League clash as Chelsea aim to maintain their lead at the summit when they host Manchester City!