Manchester City defeated Chelsea for the second time in four days with a 4-0 win in the third round of the FA Cup to pile the pressure on Blues manager Graham Potter.
City finished third at half-time thanks to a spectacular free-kick from Riyad Mahrez, a penalty from Julian Alvarez and a spectacular team goal from Phil Foden. added a fourth goal, further highlighting the rift between the two teams.
Pep Guardiola’s side are looking forward to a home game against Arsenal when Premier League leaders beat Oxford United on Monday night. As for Chelsea, it is the first time in this century that the Blues have been eliminated in the fourth round.
The result puts even more pressure on Potter, who was freshly appointed in September, as Chelsea are now trailing six of his last nine games in all competitions, and Red Bull saw him beat Salzburg in October. Since then, there have been no away wins.
Mahrez scored the only goal of the game when the sides met in the Premier League on Thursday, and he broke the deadlock again. Dive stuck into the top corner.
If there was little Chelsea could do about it, the second was self-harm: Kai Havertz tried to clear a corner kick at the near post, but VAR failed to pass. Alvarez made his first start in Argentina since winning the World Cup, narrowly beating Kepa.
City lost points to Brentford and Everton in their last two Premier League games in front of home fans, but never led again. With this lead boosting confidence, Guardiola’s team really started to purr.
What was her third goal of the first half? Kyle he moved his opponent with a Walker trick, with Foden and Rodri trading flicks, Mahrez finding Walker’s overlapping his run, allowing Foden to intervene from close range. This goal represented the best of this City team.
The pace slowed after that, but another good move brought in the fourth goal as Kalidou Koulibaly awkwardly bundled Foden to the ground, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Mahrez did the rest, driving the ball high into the net.
There might even be an argument that Alvarez’s selfless run up front when the team’s prolific forward, Erling Haaland, was standing there punching himself, made City look more fluid. I can’t. Anyway, that’s the kind of problem Potter wants.
In the second half, some of his crew of 8,000 strong supporters chanted the name of his predecessor Thomas He Tuchel. Not everything is going well at Chelsea. The Man City machines keep going.
Chelsea will be sick of the sight of Mahrez but Guardiola will be grateful for the games against them because they have been critical in reigniting the winger’s season. His goal against them in the Carabao Cup in November now looks to have been a turning point.
The City boss had been critical of Mahrez’s form earlier in the season – and he defended that assessment of the player’s contribution even when praising him after the game.
“He was not the same. I was completely fair. He was not playing at the level he is playing right now. Sometimes I have to let them see the mirror of who they are. It is not about the quality, you have to do more in football.
“But since the World Cup he is playing really well. A fantastic free-kick and he played an outstanding game, playing wider, playing narrow. A good game.”