Gabriel Jesus gives champions victory and ends undefeated Chelsea start
Gabriel Jesus fired a first Premier League warning shot as defending champions Manchester City toppled title rivals Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Brazilian striker Jesus scored a deflected finish in the 53rd minute to help City move ahead of Chelsea in the table on goal difference, ending the Blues’ undefeated start to the league.
City offered the biggest company by far, with winner Jesus helping Pep Guardiola avoid an unwelcome first loss to the same rival manager four games in a row.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel and his side sank City three times last season, culminating in a 1-0 triumph in the Champions League final in Porto.
But in a new campaign that promises a tantalizing title fight between incumbents City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool, Guardiola’s men have claimed the first real victory.
City’s fierce press has stifled Chelsea throughout, and visitors to West London easily coped with the change in the hosts’ lineup.
Tuchel filled the midfield with the three N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, but this 3-5-2 left Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku too often too isolated up front.
Mason Mount’s lack of injury, however, deprived the Blues of a major pressing threat atop their tree top, giving visitors time to build from behind.
Chelsea could hardly do more than contain the visitors in a first half where local players found possession very limited.
The Blues certainly sacrificed a creative edge for that central stability, with Werner and Lukaku often isolated up front.
Werner beat the City line once, but couldn’t pick Lukaku in the middle.
Kevin De Bruyne’s cut found no one in the zone for City, leaving Chelsea to breathe a sigh of relief, before Jorginho produced a big clearance after a Phil Foden corner.
Then, at the end of the half, Jesus hung wide for the best chance at this point.
The City forward cleverly lost Antonio Rudiger in the box and prepared well – but called off the good job with a sloppy finish.
For once Tuchel resisted the temptation to make a change at half-time, and no sooner had the second half started than the home boss wished he had twisted instead of getting stuck.
Jack Grealish delivered a warning shot by curling wide, before Jesus finally broke the deadlock.
Joao Cancelo’s weak effort found its way to Jesus in the box, the Brazilian striker spun through traffic and his low shot deflected slightly en route to find Chelsea’s net. Edouard Mendy didn’t stand a chance, as City got a fair reward for bragging about their biggest offensive effort.
Grealish nearly doubled City’s lead a few minutes later, but the former Aston Villa man steered his effort just wide after perfectly passing Cesar Azpilicueta.
Just before the hour, Tuchel finally made the first change, with Kai Havertz replacing Kante. The French World Cup-winning midfielder had struggled to adjust to his new role as Chelsea’s three-way midfielder.
However, City continued undeterred and Silva had to clear Jesus’ shot after Grealish again left Azpilicueta for dead.
Lukaku believed he had equalized for Chelsea on a square pass from Havertz, only for the German star to be rightly ruled offside in preparation.
Chelsea continued to press but without a clear cut, despite a considerable increase in pace.
But City could have wrapped up the win when Grealish came through on goal, only for Mendy to hold him up and produce a nice save.