The Blues have suffered consecutive heavy away defeats but unlike at Bournemouth, the damage at the Etihad was done very early in the game with four goals conceded with just over quarter of the game gone.
There was never any doubt today’s encounter was going to be a very tough assignment, the reigning champions surely determined before kick-off to avenge our notable win against them back in December at Stamford Bridge. Therefore the last thing we could afford was a bad start and a catalogue of defensive errors in the first half, but sadly that was the case.
The Londoners went behind to a Raheem Sterling goal inside five minutes following some slack marking and were 3-0 down before 20 minutes were played following two Sergio Aguero goals. The first of those strikes was pure class but the Argentinian was gifted his second and a poor Chelsea clearance contributed to the fourth goal, scored by midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.
In the second half, Aguero netted his third, a penalty, and Sterling scored his second of the game late on.
Today’s defeat leaves the Blues sixth in the Premier League table and level on points and goal difference with fifth-place Arsenal but behind on goals scored. We will need to regroup quickly with important games coming close together in the three other competitions, beginning with Malmo away on Thursday.
For today’s Premier League game, Maurizio Sarri opted to restore the now fully fit Toni Rudiger in place of Andreas Christensen and Pedro was preferred to Willian as the third of the three-pronged attack which included Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard. City, who had played midweek, made three changes.
Higuain was the player most involved in the opening couple of minutes but Chelsea were soon behind, caught cold by a quickly taken free-kick for a foul committed by Jorginho. The ball was sent through a gap in our unprepared defence by Kevin De Bruyne to Bernado Silva. His low centre was diverted Sterling’s way by a clip off David Luiz and it was a relatively simple task for the England man to smack the ball into our net. There were only three minutes on the clock.
It could have been 2-0 in the eighth minute had Aguero not paddled wide from close range at the far post from another Silva cross.
Three minutes later came the best passage of Chelsea play yet, a David Luiz ball threaded forward to Hazard who ran past several light blue shirts but gave Ederson a comfortable save - and then it was 2-0 - Aguero atoning for his earlier miss in some style. He collected a loose ball and found the top corner of Kepa’s net from 25 yards out with a curling rocket of a shot.
It went from bad to worse five minutes later when, after David Luiz had headed clear, an ill-judged nod back towards our goal by Ross Barkley allowed Aguero to turn in City’s third from five yards out.
Barkley, who was part of an unchanged midfield with Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, was not too far away from making a repayment with a curling effort soon after, but could there possibly be any way back for his team with those early mistakes made against a side who were moving the ball forward slickly?
That was pretty much answered on 25 minutes when we only half-cleared our lines and Gundogan swept the ball low into the bottom corner for 4-0. As with Aguero’s first, Kepa got his finger tips to the ball but the shot was too good.
Before half-time, Pedro, played through by Higuain, had a chance but Ederson saved. It was the same result from a more speculative effort by the diminutive Spaniard soon after.
The best Chelsea shot of the first half came 38 minutes in – from outside the area by Higuain. It extended Ederson to the full to make the save.
Early in the second half, Aguero almost completed his hat-trick when he headed against the crossbar but he only had to wait five minutes more to do so from the penalty spot, after Azpilicueta had fouled Sterling.
Just past the hour, Hazard fired into the side-netting from an angle as we worked the ball across the box and Kepa later made a good save to keep out substitute Gabriel Jesus.
A sub of our own, Emerson, drilled a free-kick at Ederson but then City made it six with 10 minutes to go. Sterling, in similar fashion to his opener, hit the net with a crucial part played by another substitute, David Silva, who struck the pass to open our defence.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta (c), Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso (Emerson 73), Kante, Jorginho, Barkley (Kovacic 52), Pedro (Loftus-Cheek 65), Higuain, Hazard.
Unused subs Caballero, Christensen, Willian, Giroud.
Booked Jorginho 60, Alonso 69
Man City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Fernandinho (c) (D Silva 75), Gundogan, De Bruyne ( Mahrez 68), B Silva, Aguero (Jesus 65), Sterling.
Unused subs Muric, Danilo, Otamendi, Sane.
Scorers Sterling 4, 80, Aguero 13, 19, 56 pen, Gundogan 25.
Booked Gundogan 77
Referee Mike Dean