Chelsea produced a brilliant performance to inflict a first Premier League defeat of the season on Manchester City as goals from N’Golo Kante and David Luiz secured a well-deserved 2-0 victory on a memorable night at the Bridge.
The opening goal arrived at the end of a first half in which we’d been forced to defend for long spells, Kante dispatching a fantastic first-time strike to break the deadlock, but after the restart it was a different story as the Blues offered a far greater attacking threat and caused City all manner of problems.
Maurizio Sarri introduced both Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek off the bench and the changes had the desired impact.
Barkley’s presence in midfield helped nullify City’s attacking threat, and with 12 minutes remaining David Luiz expertly headed home from an Eden Hazard corner to extend our advantage.
There were four changes to the side which beaten at Wolves in midweek, with David Luiz, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Pedro all named in the starting line-up.
Elsewhere, Cesar Azpilicueta made his 300th Chelsea appearance and in a front three made up of Pedro, Eden Hazard and Willian, it was the Belgian deployed as the central figure.
The first opportunity of the game fell the way of the visitors after eight minutes as they broke forward at pace, Raheem Sterling advancing and switching the ball out to David Silva, before collecting the Spaniard’s cross and firing straight at Kepa from six yards out.
David Luiz did superbly to thwart Leroy Sane, and win a free-kick in the process, as City threatened once again, with Pep Guardiola’s side controlling possession during the early stages of the contest.
The visitors then went close twice in quick succession just after the half-hour mark with Toni Rudiger and Azpilicueta making a couple of important blocks to deny David Silva and Sane respectively, but while City were looking the more dangerous of the two sides from an attacking perspective, there was no shortage of desire and determination in the manner in which we were defending.
In the final third, however, our attacking players were struggling to see enough of the ball in order to cause the City defence concern. There was an opportunity for Jorginho to put Hazard through as the Chelsea midfielder pounced on a loose ball deep inside the City half, but the power of the pass made it difficult for the Belgian to bring it under control.
With the half drawing to a conclusion, though, and with our first effort on goal, the Blues took the lead courtesy of a fine finish from an unlikely source.
Pedro collected an inch-perfect pass out from the back by David Luiz and switched it to Willian. His cross was headed clear, but Marcos Alonso was first to the loose ball and intelligently found Hazard, who delivered it into the penalty area. The City defence were caught napping and it was met by Kante, who fired a wonderful first-time strike into the roof of the net to make it 1-0.
It was the Frenchman’s second goal of the season, and what a time to get it!
The Blues began the second half brightly and a clever piece of play from Willian, which ended with the attacker being brought down by his former Shakhtar team-mate Fernandinho, earned us a free-kick just outside the box.
Willian stepped forward and curled his strike up and over the wall, but Ederson dived to his left and made the save, with Pedro volleying the rebound high over the bar.
Having sat off City for much of the first half we were now playing on the front foot and causing the City defence problems.
Kante burst forward and teed up Pedro, whose cushioned touch was deflected into the arms of Ederson, and the City keeper was called into action once again soon after when he saved Willian’s low drive from just inside the box.
Guardiola made his first change of the evening seven minutes after the restart as Gabriel Jesus, a natural striker, replaced Sane.
With the Blues leading, and City desperately searching for a route back into the game, the contest as a whole had a far more lively feel to it in contrast to the opening 45 minutes.
Kepa did well to punch a dipping Kyle Walker free-kick away to safety and moments later the City right-back clashed with Jorginho following a challenge by our midfielder which led to him being shown a yellow card. Tempers, for a moment, appeared to be boiling over, before calmness was quickly restored.
Just after the hour it was Sarri's turn to make an enforced change as Kovacic, who had performed well, was unable to carry on after sustaining an injury. Barkley was the player chosen to replace the Croatian.
Despite our slender advantage, the visitors remained a real threat and Azpilicueta, who had been outstanding up until this point, had to time his tackle on the marauding Sterling to perfection inside the penalty area.
Another change followed for the Blues, Loftus-Cheek coming on for Willian, leading to a change in shape from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1, with Kante alongside Jorginho, and Loftus-Cheek, Barkley and Pedro behind Hazard.
With 12 minutes left on the clock, after Barkley's low drive was deflected behind for a corner it was Hazard who delivered, and the ball was met by David Luiz, who displayed fantastic athleticism to adjust his body and send a looping header over Ederson and into the back of the net off the underside of the bar.
It was the Brazilian's first goal in over a year and his celebrations, which were matched by the home fans inside Stamford Bridge, told their own story.
A third and final change for City followed as Phil Foden came on for Mahrez, but it was the Blues who threatened again as Barkley timed his run into the box to meet a Pedro cross, only to steer his header just wide.
There were a couple of late scares as Fernandinho's volley whistled inches past the post, before Kepa produced a decent save to deny Jesus, but in truth David Luiz's goal had given the visitors too much to do.
Following the disappointment of the midweek reverse at Molineux, it's back to winning ways for the Blues.
An impressive team display, and a magnificent result, what a way to get back on track!
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta (c), Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic (Barkley 64); Pedro, Hazard (Giroud 89), Willian (Loftus-Cheek 74).
Unused subs: Caballero, Emerson, Christensen, Fabregas,.
Scorers Kante 45, David Luiz 78
Booked Jorginho 63, Pedro 80
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Delph; B Silva, Fernandinho, D Silva (c) (Gundogan 67); Mahrez (Foden 83), Sterling, Sane (Jesus 52).
Unused subs: Muric, Danilo, Kompany, Otamendi.
Referee Michael Oliver