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5 talking points as Kevin De Bruyne comes back to haunt Chelsea

Kevin De Bruyne scored the only goal of the game as Manchester City beat title rivals Chelsea to go a staggering 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League table

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Manchester City v Chelsea: Match in pictures

Kevin De Bruyne came back to haunt Chelsea as Manchester City tightened their grip on the Premier League title.

The Belgian wizard struck in 70th minute, breaking the Blues’ resilient defence in a game where chances came at a premium.

His goal helped the Citizens go 13 points clear of Thomas Tuchel‘s men at the top of the table, as Pep Guardiola and co look set to lift yet another trophy come May.

Chelsea had chances themselves – going close through Romelu Lukaku – but the hosts’ dominance paid off, with City marching to their 12th successive top-flight wins.

No team have ever failed to win the title with such a big lead with 16 games to go – here are five talking points from the Etihad Stadium.

Join the debate! Is the Premier League title race over? Let us know your thoughts below.

Man City went 13 points clear of Chelsea

1. England’s finest?

At least over the last 12 months, City and Chelsea have asserted themselves as the two best teams in the country – and arguably Europe.

Having met in a tightly-contested Champions League final back in May, both teams were supplemented by a group of top English talent.

But there was only one side flying the flag when team news broke, as Chelsea opted to start with a full foreign XI, while City’s front three were all English.

With Tuchel being without Reece James and Ben Chilwell, the German tactician benched Mason Mount and three other Englishmen, as Guardiola deployed Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish in attack.

Add to that two Three Lions defenders and half of the Citizens’ were outfielders were home grown players.

2. Ziyech leaves Tuchel furious

Unsurprisingly, it was a one-sided start to the game as City dominated possession and probed the Blues’ back line.

However, it was Chelsea who could have taken the lead in the 14th minute – if Hakim Ziyech ‘s pass to Lukaku was not shockingly wayward.

On the counter, Ziyech found himself in space and with opportunity to slot Lukaku, who squandered an opening himself just minutes earlier, through one-on-one with Ederson.

But the Moroccan somehow overhit his pass, with Tuchel leaping out of his seat in the dugout to let rip on his midfielder.

With the Etihad being the fortress it is, no wonder wonder the Blues boss was furious at such a guilt-edge chance being wasted and his side failing to register a shot in the opening 45 minutes of a match for the first time since he took charge at Stamford Bridge.

Tuchel erupted in rage at Ziyech
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3. Grealish fluffs his lines

And to even the frustration up, the Citizens missed their own golden opportunity late in the first half.

After successfully pressuring Chelsea’s defenders who were attempting to play out from the back, Mateo Kovacic gave the ball straight to Jack Grealish, via a De Bruyne deflection.

With plenty of space on the edge of the penalty area, the onrushing Kepa Arrizabalaga had little chance of stopping City from going 1-0 up in the 39th minute – so long as Grealish kept his cool.

But the £100million fluffed his chance, stalling and allowing Kepa to close him down to keep it goalless at the break.

Grealish rued missing his golden chance

4. De Bruyne back to haunt Chelsea

While Chelsea threatened on the break to give the title race a twist, there was an air of familiarity when City broke the deadlock through none other than ex-Blue De Bruyne.

The Belgian produced a trademark curled strike from the edge of the penalty area after evading N’Golo Kante ‘s tackle.

The move started from Aymeric Laporte ‘s smart header down into midfield, with Guardiola’s men at their fluid best against one of the most stubborn defences in the division.

De Bruyne produced a stunner to break the deadlock
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5. Lukaku lacking

From one Chelsea reject to another, although he eventually came back for £97.5million, Lukaku spent 90 minutes being starved of service.

Struggling to act as the hold-up man, the fellow Belgian hardly had a sniff at goal and his only proper opening came early in the second half, with Ederson rushing out to deny him with a smart save.

Failing to find the net in yet another big game, Lukaku looks to a problem that Tuchel will need to find an answer to quickly if the title is going anywhere but the Etihad.

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