Chelsea’s eighth successive Premier League win cemented their place at the top of the table – but their victory at Etihad Stadium ended in chaos as Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho were sent off in injury time.
Antonio Conte’s side delivered an impressive statement of intent as they cut City apart on the break after going behind to Gary Cahill’s own goal on the stroke of half-time, when he diverted Jesus Navas’ cross beyond keeper Thibaut Courtois.
The game turned on Kevin de Bruyne’s 56th-minute miss with City in control, crashing Navas’ cross against the bar from inside the six-yard box.
Chelsea were level on the hour when Diego Costa outmuscled Nicolas Otamendi to score and they were ahead 10 minutes later when substitute Willian raced clear to beat City keeper Claudio Bravo with ease.
Eden Hazard completed a magnificent win for Chelsea with another goal on the break, showing too much pace for Aleksandar Kolarov to wrap up three vital points.
Chelsea’s renaissance since a 3-0 loss at Arsenal in September left them in 10th place, eight points behind then leaders City, has been hugely impressive – but this is their most powerful statement of the season.
Eight wins from eight and only two goals conceded tells the story and this win against City was the second week in succession they have come from behind to beat a team that could be regarded as realistic title rivals after overcoming Tottenham at Stamford Bridge last weekend.
They were tested by periods of City domination, but showed a ruthlessness to match their steely resilience and tore Pep Guardiola’s side to shreds in the closing 20 minutes.