Wednesday, January 19

Ready made Rudiger replacement? Five things we learned as Chelsea fall short in Manchester

Ready made Rudiger replacement? Five things we learned as Chelsea fall short in Manchester

Ready made Rudiger replacement? Five things we learned as Chelsea fall short in Manchester

Ready made Rudiger replacement? Five things we learned as Chelsea fall short in Manchester

Chelsea fall short in Manchester

Chelsea headed up to Manchester in more hope than expectation, but had to consign themselves to a narrow defeat against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, and effectively surrender any chance of another Premier League title.

A Kevin De Bruyne strike proved decisive in the contest, and saw Pep Guardiola’s side march on to another victory.

1. Chelsea need cover at left back

It is not new news to hear that Chelsea need cover at left-back, as Marcos Alonso was given a torrid afternoon against Raheem Sterling.

Booked early in the piece, the Spaniard could not deal with the pace and trickery of the Manchester City man, and only some poor decisions in the final third meant that his inability to deal with Sterling did not have more severe consequences.

2. Title “race” all but over

It was a long shot heading into the game in Manchester, but a victory for Chelsea, combined with Liverpool winning both of their games in hand, would have cut the deficit to just 5 points, and given the Premier League a true title race.

Now, however, it seems a longshot, if not impossible. The result leaves Chelsea 13 points adrift, and Liverpool 14 behind, with just 16 games left to play this season.

It remains to be seen if Chelsea can cling to Liverpool’s coattails

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3. The Lukaku conundrum continues

Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku. A list of names that are both top strikers but also that don’t really fit the way that their side seem to want to play.

In Chelsea’s case, it is Lukaku that is most concerning, with the Belgian’s strong suits seemingly at odds with what Thomas Tuchel wants his striker to do. And, after the interview given by the Belgian, he is unlikely to have too many sympathisers at Stamford Bridge.

Nevertheless, it is a conundrum that Chelsea desperately need to solve: five goals for their record season in the opening half of the season is simply not what they thought they were paying for, and he had next to no influence on the game at the Etihad this afternoon.

Getting the forward service should be priority number one for the Blues, as they desperately look to recover the imperious form they showed at the start of the season.

4. Kepa continues to impress

Despite a couple of nervy moments, including shinning a clearance into his teammate and out for a corner, Kepa proved an able deputy for Edouard Mendy at the Etihad.

While he could perhaps have done more to keep De Bruyne out from distance, it was nonetheless a competent performance from a goalkeeper that had been written off by many both in and outside of Chelsea.

With Mendy away for the rest of the month, is there a chance Kepa can stake a claim to be no.1 under Tuchel again?

5. Ready made Rudiger replacement?

It seems as though Antonio Rudiger’s time at Chelsea is coming to an end, with the German having just 6 months to run on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

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But, in Malang Sarr, Chelsea may already have a replacement.

The French defender, signed two seasons ago from Nice, impressed once more in defence and proved he is more than able of hanging with the big boys in the Premier League, slotting into the system without a hitch.

With the likes of Jules Kounde and Nicolas Sule linked with moves to the club this summer, is the replacement already at the club?

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 21 40 53
2 Chelsea FC 21 29 43
3 Liverpool FC 20 34 42
4 West Ham United 21 12 37
5 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 19 3 31
8 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 28
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 19 28
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
12 Southampton FC 20 -6 24
13 Brentford FC 20 -6 23
14 Aston Villa 19 -5 22
15 Everton FC 18 -9 19
16 Leeds United 19 -16 19
17 Watford FC 18 -14 13
18 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
19 Newcastle United 19 -23 11
20 Norwich City 20 -36 10
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Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Jorginho Chelsea FC 6
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 6
Cornet, Maxwel Burnley FC 6

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