Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Manchester City
at the Etihad Stadium. Man City have won six of their last seven matches
to increase the pressure on Liverpool and can move back to the top of the table
on goal difference with victory here, while the Blues have endured an underwhelming run of form
in the top flight and find themselves a point outside the top four ahead of kickoff.
MANCHESTER CITY TEAM NEWS!
STARTING XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Fernandinho, De Bruyne; Bernardo, Aguero, Sterling
SUBS: Muric, Danilo, Sane, David Silva, Mahrez, Otamendi, Jesus
CHELSEA TEAM NEWS!
STARTING XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Pedro, Higuain, Hazard
SUBS: Caballero, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Giroud, Willian, Christensen, Emerson
KICKOFF: Man City get us underway at the Etihad Stadium! The home side show three changes from their midweek win at Everton, with Zinchenko among those to return to the side at left-back, while Chelsea makes two changes as Rudiger and Pedro are recalled.
The visitors are noticeably pushing Man City high up the pitch in the early stages - a brave tactic as they play their opponents at their own game. Hazard sends in a ball from wide but Higuain is unable to get a shot away.
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 1-0 CHELSEA (RAHEEM STERLING)
Man City take the lead inside the opening four minutes through Sterling! Chelsea are caught out by a quick free kick as De Bruyne slots the ball down the left for Bernardo, whose low cross deflects off Luiz and is blasted into the net by a totally unmarked Sterling from 10 yards.
Chelsea has started pretty well but they now have it all to do having conceded that sloppy goal. It was not a particularly difficult attack to deal with and their inability to stay switched on - even with less than five minutes played - has again cost them.
This is Sterling's first ever Premier League goal against Chelsea, in what is his 11th appearance against them. How will Chelsea respond to the early setback?
CHANCE! Aguero is guilty of the miss of the season! City carve Chelsea open yet again and, once Bernardo turns away from his man and rolls the ball through the six-yard box for Aguero, the Premier League's best striker surely has to convert. Yet he doesn't, shooting wide of the goal from all of three yards - he had plenty of the target to aim for.
The early signs are not good for Chelsea. City have carved them open a couple of times and, having fallen behind with just four minutes on the clock, they are fortunate not to be two down as Aguero missed a sitter.
SHOT! This is a lot better from Chelsea, and it is no surprise that Hazard is at the heart of it. The Belgian forward picks the ball up 45 yards from goal and takes it past four men before getting a shot away. The angle was against him and it looked to be off target, but Ederson got down to collect anyway.
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 2-0 CHELSEA (SERGIO AGUERO)
Guilty of possibly the miss of the season a little earlier, Aguero has now scored an outside contender for goal of the season. The Argentinian striker curls the ball out of Kepa's reach from 22 yards, doubling his side's tally. This could get embarrassing for the visitors!
Aguero has now scored six Premier League goals during 2019 - two more than any other player. City are in cruise mode and look as though they could add to their tally before the interval. At 2-0 it is not quite game over; 3-0 will make certain of it.
City have been guilty of taking their foot off the gas far too often this season, but there is no risk of that happening today. The home side are still on top after scoring a couple of early goals, barely giving Chelsea a chance to get forward.
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 3-0 CHELSEA (SERGIO AGUERO)
I did warn that it may get embarrassing for Chelsea! The champions have added a third goal to their tally and we have still yet to play a quarter of the match. Luiz heads the ball clear but Barkley - for reasons only he knows - heads the ball straight back where it came from and Aguero pounces, sending a first-time shot past a stranded Kepa. Terrible play from Barkley!
Aguero is the sixth player in Premier League history to register 200 goal involvements for a single club in the competition. The Citizens are three goals up and cruising, and you cannot really say that they do not deserve this comfortable lead.
City are continuing to go through the motions. There is still over an hour to play here and on the basis of what we have seen so far the hosts could easily rack up six or seven goals - there has been that much of a gulf between the sides.
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 4-0 CHELSEA (ILKAY GUNDOGAN)
Oh my! Man City have a fourth goal and once again it comes through some sloppy Chelsea defending. Aguero exchanges passes with Sterling far too easily and Rudiger only manages to half-clear the ball to Gundogan, who bends the ball away from Kepa with a first-time shot from 22 yards. Unbelievable!
Sarri is holding off from making a change, despite his side being totally outclassed. The tactic to push City high up the pitch early on looked to work well for the first three minutes, but since Sterling opened the scoring it has all gone wrong for them.
SAVE! Half an hour played at the Etihad Stadium and Chelsea have finally managed to test Ederson. Higuain gets the better of Laporte and picks out Pedro, who cannot lift the ball over Ederson when one-on-one. The same player then has a shot saved from further out.
Not since December 1999 have Chelsea conceded four goals in the first half of a Premier League match. Serious questions will now be asked of Sarri, who needs to change things around at some point. Kante can move into the centre for a start.
Higuain's shot from range is blocked by Fernandinho, who is playing in his more familiar holding-midfield position today. Chelsea have been on top since Man City score the fourth goal of the game, if that is any consolation to their supporters.
Chelsea are seeing a lot more of the ball now but that is mainly because City have no need to attack. I would say a Chelsea goal makes things interesting but the Citizens will then go and score a few more. There is a huge gulf in quality between the sides, I'm afraid.
It is City's turn to take control of possession as the first half peters to its conclusion. Worst case scenario is that there is little action in the second half, though at least we were treated to a stunning 25-minute showing from the hosts.
SAVE! Higuain has had a couple of bright moments in this otherwise one-sided first half. The striker's shot from 25 yards dips and is well dealt with by Ederson, who makes a one-handed save to keep his clean sheet intact.
Any opposition managers watching this match will learn from Chelsea - do not attempt to play City at their own game. The Blues are racking up plenty of passes towards the end of the first half but their play is not penetrative enough.
City have had five shots today and scored from four of them. Chelsea have had three shots on target, meanwhile, each of which Ederson has dealt with. Kepa could have done better when it came to keeping out City's fourth.
Two minutes have been added on at the end of this first half, the first of which we have already played with little incident. Sarri has a massive team talk to come.
HALF TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 4-0 CHELSEA
De Bruyne sends an unbelievable cross in from 40 yards which is inches out of Aguero's reach - the Argentinian striker unable to reach the ball when diving it, though he was offside anyway. That brings an end to a one-sided first half which saw City race four goals in front inside 25 incredible minutes.
It took a little under four minutes for City to make the breakthrough, catching their opponents out with a quick free kick. Kevin De Bruyne released Bernardo Silva down the right and the Portuguese's cutback deflected off David Luiz into the path of an unmarked Raheem Sterling
, who thumped the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga from 10 yards. Then, shortly after being guilty of a miss of the season contender when failing to convert from three yards at the back post, Sergio Aguero
guided the ball past Kepa from 20 yards further back.
Chelsea were again the victims of their own downfall for City's third as Luiz half-cleared the ball to Ross Barkley, who headed it back to where it came from. Aguero pounced and sent a first-time shot past a stranded Kepa to all but seal the points for the champions with less than a quarter of the game played. The fourth would arrive soon after, again following some sloppy defending as Aguero and Sterling exchanged passes in the box, before Antonio Rudiger cleared the ball to Ilkay Gundogan
to curl the ball into the net from outside the box.
Having conceded four goals in the first half of a Premier League match for the first time since December 1999, Chelsea finally started to grow into the contest, though that was mainly because City allowed them to do so. Ederson produced a couple of saves to keep out Pedro, the first of which came with the Spaniard through on goal after being played in by Gonzalo Higuain, before then getting a hand to Higuain's long-ranger to keep his clean sheet intact.
MANCHESTER CITY SUBS: Muric, Danilo, Sane, David Silva, Mahrez, Otamendi, Jesus
CHELSEA SUBS: Caballero, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Giroud, Willian, Christensen, Emerson
KICKOFF: Only once before in Premier League history has a side recovered from four goals down at the break to salvage a point - Newcastle United against Arsenal in 2011 - so it is fair to say that Chelsea have their work cut out as they get the second half underway.
No changes made by Sarri at the break, incidentally, which I find quite bizarre. The Blues may have had the better of things in the final 20 minutes of the first half, but that is because City backed off.
The second half has started in a pretty low-tempo manner, just as the first half ended. That was always going to be likely as City had the points in the bag as early as the 19th minute when Aguero put them three goals in front.
OFF THE BAR! Aguero nearly completes his hat-trick when spotted in the middle by De Bruyne, only for his header - after outjumping Luiz - to rocket back off the crossbar. City have started to up the intensity again over the past couple of minutes.
CHELSEA SUB! Here comes the sub that many would have predicted, as Kovacic comes on for Barkley in a like-for-like change. The Blues, who also lost by four goals at Bournemouth last month, have become far too predictable
That Aguero header that was kept out by the crossbar was City's first shot of any note since scoring their fourth goal 25 minutes in. The home supporters are urging their side on, desperate for a fifth and possibly sixth goal.
PENALTY! Azpilicueta lunges in on Sterling, who had lost control of the ball, to concede a penalty. Poor defending from the experienced defender and Aguero has a chance to complete his hat-trick.
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 5-0 CHELSEA (SERGIO AGUERO, PEN)
Aguero waits for Kepa to dive and then rolls the ball the other way to complete his hat-trick. The City striker has now has 11 Premier League hat-tricks, equalling the long-standing record set by Alan Shearer.
SAVE! If the game finishes 6-0, Chelsea will drop below Arsenal on goal difference. That is a factor that was not considered heading into the match - did anyone really predict this scoreline? De Bruyne takes on a free kick that is is punched clear by Kepa.
YELLOW CARD! Jorginho is booked for catching Fernandinho with a high boot. Prior to that, Aguero had options either side of him but decided to take on the shot himself, which was off target. Guardiola may be tempted to rotate his side for the remaining half an hour.
De Bruyne is desperate to score against his former club. The Belgian playmaker puts his boot through the ball from outside the box but Rudiger bravely puts his body in the way. Loftus-Cheek is about to come on for the visitors.
SUBS! Hazard gets away a shot but cannot quite squeeze the ball on target. Aguero, having equalled the Premier League record for the number of hat-tricks, is replaced by Jesus. Sarri also brings on Loftus-Cheek for Pedro, likely meaning a tactical reshuffle.
SAVE! Man City are just toying with their opponents now as we approach the final 20 minutes. Fernandinho has a go from range but Kepa is equal to it. The Citizens make their second change of the day, with Mahrez taking over from De Bruyne in attack.
YELLOW CARD! Alonso takes out Bernardo to earn himself a booking. Mahrez, only on the field for a couple of minutes, is well off target with his first shot. It looks as though the visitors are about to make another change.
CHELSEA SUB! Alonso is replaced by Emerson in another like-for-like change. Sarri will be glad that the tempo has gone out of the game again over the last 10 minutes because City could easily have scored another goal or two.
SAVE! Jesus is played into space and holds off Luiz, but his low shot is kept out by Kepa. The substitute striker claims that Luiz made contact with him but referee Mike Dean was never going to point to the penalty spot, instead awarding a corner.
YELLOW CARD! Chelsea could do with the full-time whistle now, which has been the case for a while, but you get the impression that the home side are not quite done just yet. Loftus-Cheek powers forward and is fouled by Gundogan, leading to a third booking of the day.
SAVE! Emerson tries to curl the ball away from Ederson but the Brazilian keeper reads it well and gets two hands to it. Chelsea would like a consolation but it will count for very little in the grand scheme of things.
GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 6-0 CHELSEA (RAHEEM STERLING)
Man City go and bag a sixth goal and it is scored by the man who started the rout. A flowing move sees Zinchenko played into space down the left and his cross is turned goalwards by Sterling from close range. Sheer embarrassment for Chelsea.
The Blues have been given a real lesson today. Sarri has defended his style of play but those supporters who have yet to leave will want answers. Battered 4-0 at Bournemouth a week-and-a-half ago and now six goals down at the Etihad Stadium.
That sixth goal means that Chelsea are now sixth in the table, behind Man United on points and now Arsenal on goal difference. There are still five more minutes to come and you would not rule out a seventh goal for the Citizens.
Following the theme of the game, Chelsea start to put together some passes once their opponents back off. Sarri has four days to prepare his side for their Europa League trip to Malmo, though it surely will not be easy to get this defeat out of their system.
It is worth pointing out that these sides will also face off later this month in the EFL Cup final. As a neutral you would hope for a tighter game, but we have been treated to a masterclass by City today. The hosts are not happy to settle with just the six goals, either...
Aguero has just been named as the sponsors' man of the match - no complaints from me with that one. The Argentinian striker will grab the headlines having equalled the Premier League record for hat-tricks scored, but this has been a real team effort.
FULL TIME: MANCHESTER CITY 6-0 CHELSEA
Manchester City climb back to the top of the Premier League thanks to a resounding 6-0 win over Chelsea. The Citizens were four goals up with a little over a quarter of the match played and added two more in the second half, with Aguero scoring a hat-trick, Sterling a brace and Gundogan also adding his name to the scoresheet on a day when everything went right for the champions.
That concludes Sports Mole
's live text coverage of events from the Etihad Stadium. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here
, and be sure to join us in around 90 minutes' time as we bring you coverage from the La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona. See you then!