Chelsea completed a remarkable comeback to beat Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday and keep their Premier League winning run in tact.
Antonio Conte’s men fell behind in the clash when Gary Cahill turned the ball into the back of his own net on the stroke of half time before the visitors took advantage of a host of missed chances from City to turn the game on its head.
Diego Costa equalised on the hour mark before substitute Willian and Eden Hazard secured the three points with their goals later in the second half to keep Chelsea – who have now won eight games in a row – top of the standings by a point.
Despite the end result, it was City who began the game the more dominant of the two sides although Chelsea came close to taking the lead when John Stones – back in Pep Guardiola’s starting line-up – headed the ball to Leroy Sane, whose subsequent clearance fell to Pedro.
The Spaniard squared the ball to Diego Costa before the Brazilian set up Eden Hazard with his pass, only for the Belgian to drive his effort wide.
The hosts reacted soon afterward with Sergio Aguero forcing Thibaut Courtois into a fine save with his fierce shot in the 20th minute before City did get the ball into the net – although it wasn’t given.
Former Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne sent a free kick to Fernandinho, who headed the ball past Courtois but he was flagged as offside.
Despite the scare, Chelsea wasted no time in responding through Cesc Fabregas – making his first start since the 3-0 loss to Arsenal in September – who picked out Hazard with his sublime long-range pass but, again, Hazard couldn’t find the back of the net.
The winger chose not to shoot despite having gotten past Claudio Bravo but instead saw his cross cleared by the home defence.
By this point, City were in complete control and the fans at the Etihad Stadium were then left incensed after David Luiz brought down Aguero, who had latched onto Cesar Azpilicueta’s backpass, but wasn’t sent off.
As boos rung around the ground, City continued to press the visitors and nearly took the lead when Cahill blocked Aguero’s close-range effort, with the striker later sending a header wide.
It wasn’t long, though, before Guardiola’s men did go in front – and the opener came in the form of a Cahill own goal. Just moments after City saw an appeal for a penalty for N’Golo Kante’s foul on Ilkay Gundogan turned down, Cahill turned Jesus Navas’ cross into his own net.
The own goal came on the stroke of half-time and it injected City with the confidence they needed to come back after the break and continue pressurising the league leaders.
Just four minutes after the re-start, Sane’s superb run down the length of the field resulted in him picking out De Bruyne, but his effort was blocked by Courtois before a defensive mix-up nearly led to a City goal.
Marcos Alonso sent a backpass short, but he nor Cahill spotted Aguero lurking and the striker nipped in and won possession. The acting Chelsea captain recovered, however, to clear Aguero’s shot off the line but Chelsea were counting their lucky stars seconds later when De Bruyne sent Navas’ cross onto the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
The miss proved costly as Chelsea restored parity just two minutes later when Fabregas’ superb ball over the top found Costa, who cut inside Nicolas Otamendi and found the net with his low effort.
With City failing to convert their many chances in front of goal, Hazard then found Costa with a pass from City’s half before the striker ran past Otamendi all too easily and set up substitute Willian.
The Brazilian, who has been out of the Chelsea line-up due to injuries and time away to grieve the death of his mother, showed outstanding pace to run down the length of the pitch and drive a low shot past Bravo.
Hazard then completed the comeback after Chelsea went on the counter, which ended in Hazard latching onto Alonso’s ball and smashing it home.
The game finished with unsavouray scenes as Sergio Aguero was given a straight red card following a reckless challenge on David Luiz. Tension over-boiled further as Fernandinho pursued Fabregas before pushing the Spaniard into the crowd as City went down to nine men.