Chelsea tightened their grip on a top-four spot in the Premier League table after coming from behind to beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.
After falling behind to Raheem Sterling’s close-range opener just moments before half time, Chelsea responded in the second half thanks to goals from Hakim Ziyech and a last-gasp winner from Marcos Alonso, with both goals coming after City striker Sergio Aguero squandered the chance to put home side 2-0 up with a poorly taken penalty.
After Aguero’s blunder right on the stroke of half time, Chelsea drew level just past the hour mark when Ziyech’s low, powerful effort got the better of Ederson in the City goal.
But with the contest appearing destined to end all square, Alonso was to have the final say on proceedings, turning home Timo Werner’s cross in the 92nd minute to seal yet another impressive victory and lift the Blues up to third in the Premier League table.
Victory at the Etihad, which put City’s hopes of lifting the title on hold for just a little while longer, has lifted Chelsea up to third in the table, leapfrogging Leicester City following their 4-2 defeat at home to Newcastle United on Friday evening.
Now, with just three Premier League games left on their fixture list, the Blues are edging closer to wrapping up a top-four berth, a task that seemed a tough ask when Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in the managerial hot seat in west London towards the end of January.
Nevertheless, the Tuchel revolution continues to roll on, meaning Chelsea look a safe bet to finish camped inside the top-four.
After such another brilliant performance and result, Chelsea have, once again, lapped up the plaudits. Here, VOM has taken a close look at how the Sunday newspapers have reported the Blues’ latest triumph under Tuchel.
“Manchester City will be crowned Premier League champions this season – but Chelsea are closing the gap thanks to Thomas Tuchel,” Simon Phillips wrote for The Sun.
“The Etihad giants’ quality under Pep Guardiola is unquestionable – with the Spaniard arguably the best coach on the planet.
“But there is one man sprinting up behind him at lightning speed – Blues chief Tuchel.
“Just weeks after knocking him out of the FA Cup in the semi-final, Tuchel once again showed just how close his Chelsea side are to reaching City’s level by beating them 2-1 in their own back yard.
“The German boss only arrived at Chelsea in January with the club struggling. But Tuchel has already shown everyone just how much of a tactical genius and motivator of players he can be.
“The two teams meet each other in the Champions League final later this month – already proving the gap isn’t as large as the current Premier League standings suggest.
“Guardiola his built his excellent City side up over time and Tuchel is only just getting started.
“You just know Guardiola will be having a keen look over his shoulder to keep an eye on the German’s progression in the seasons to come.
“On Saturday, Tuchel took all three points to go third in the Premier League – and put City’s title party on hold, at least for another week.”
“It is fair to say that in the vicinity of the Manchester City bench, there was little Pep Guardiola had not thrown by the time Marcos Alonso scuffed a late winner,” Andy Dunn wrote for the Mirror.
“And that probably would have included Sergio Aguero had he been able to get his hands on him. It certainly would have included Anthony Taylor had the referee passed by.
“Taylor ignored a valid-looking Raheem Sterling penalty appeal not long before Alonso’s clincher while Aguero tried a Panenka-style kick from one that the official did give and it was casually saved one-handed by Edouard Mendy.
“But don’t get taken in by any talk of bad luck or injustice.
“This was a deserved Chelsea win. Hakim Ziyech cancelled out Raheem Sterling’s first half opener and Thomas Tuchel’s side were the superior operators for large parts of the game.
“Tuchel is a coach who can do no wrong right now. Two wins over Guardiola in recent weeks tells its own story.
“Not that the FA Cup defeat and this one will have too much of a bearing on their most important meeting at the end of the month.”
“Chelsea had needed something to maintain their push for a top-four finish,” David Hytner wrote for the Guardian.
“More significantly, perhaps, they needed something to lay down a psychological marker before the European final. They would get it and then some on the back of a magnificent second-half performance.
“Thomas Tuchel’s team had made inroads up the inside left channel before the interval. Now, they got in up the other side, with Reece James, in particular, making life uncomfortable for Benjamin Mendy.
“Hakim Ziyech’s equaliser followed a cut-back from the right by César Azpilicueta and, at the very end, the substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi played in Timo Werner up the same area and his cross was scrambled home by Marcos Alonso.”