undergroundnewsroom.com March 23, 2018

Silva service enough for Man City to beat Chelsea

07 March 2018, 11:43 | Nina Mathis

Pep Guardiola's young side are targeting the club's third Premier League title in seven seasons

Pep Guardiola's young side are targeting the club's third Premier League title in seven seasons

The fading champions' recent slump in form continued as they limped to a lacklustre 1-0 defeat at runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday.

This calendar year the Blues have won just two league games, resulting in them crashing out of the top-four.

Following the West London outfit's 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium, the former Manchester United captain laid into the team, branding the performance as "unacceptable". "I think if you ask the players, the players neither", Guardiola said.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has hit back at claims his side committed a "crime against football" in their loss to Manchester City. "We did not play a good game collectively, but we are going to work hard to do better next week".

"I think they showed the difference between them and us in this moment - 25 points is a big gap and I think that we can have regret for the other games but not for this because I think the effort of the players was an important effort". We were expecting [Jairo] Riedewald in defensive midfield and [Alexander] Sorloth out left, but he came with a 4-4-2, two aggressive strikers together, strong in the air then dropping back to defend.

They remain alive in this season's competition but must find a way past Barcelona at the Nou Camp next week to reach the quarter-finals.

It was a disappointing day for Chelsea and manager Conte - and of even greater concern is that they are now five points adrift of Tottenham in fourth place in the race for spots in next season's Champions League. It took a miraculous save from defender Cesar Azpilicueta to keep the game tied.

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"I know the Juventus team that he played in and I was England coach against his Italy team. We have three targets to aim for this season, including the FA Cup, and we need to go for all of them", Azpilicueta said.

"Now we need three or four victories to be champions".

EPL pundits, however, accorded Conte no such respect, slamming his tactics.

"When you leave the pitch you have the impression that you've ran, but that you haven't played a game of football - that's a pity", he told Belgian publication HLN.

Indeed, Leroy Sane got past several Chelsea players all too easily in the 20th minute to set up Bernardo Silva for a chance at goal although he could only fire his shot over the bar.

"I think we made an incredible performance because (it) is against Chelsea, the last champion".

"But when you concede a goal just after half-time, it kills your goal a little bit".

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