Riyad Mahrez helps set up possible Arsenal tie in FA Cup as pressure builds on Graham Potter
Match report as goals from Riyad Mahrez (2), Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden gave Manchester City a 4-0 win over Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup; pressure mounting on Blues manager Graham Potter after six losses in last nine matches.
City were three up at half-time thanks to Riyad Mahrez’s magnificent free-kick, Julian Alvarez’s penalty and Phil Foden’s tremendous team goal. Mahrez added his second and City’s fourth from the spot late on to further underline the gulf between the two teams.
Pep Guardiola’s team can look forward to a tie at home to Arsenal if the Premier League leaders overcome Oxford United on Monday evening. As for Chelsea, it is the first time this century that the Blues find themselves not among the clubs in the fourth round.
The result adds to the pressure on Potter, who was only appointed in September. Chelsea have now lost six of their last nine matches in all competitions and have not tasted victory away from home since beating Red Bull Salzburg in October.
It was Mahrez who scored the only goal of the game when these teams met in the Premier League on Thursday and he broke the deadlock again here. His curling free-kick from the right edge of the box arrowed into the top corner beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga’s dive.
If Chelsea could do little to stop that, the second was self-inflicted. Kai Havertz led with his hand when trying to clear a corner at the near post and the VAR could not miss it. Alvarez, starting for the first time since his World Cup win with Argentina, just about beat Kepa.
City had dropped points against Brentford and Everton in their last two Premier League games in front of their home supporters but they did not go two up then. With that advantage, the confidence grew and Guardiola’s side really started to purr.
What a goal their third of the first half was. Kyle Walker’s trickery got them moving, Foden and Rodri trading flicks, Mahrez found Walker’s overlapping run and there was Foden from close range to tap in. It was a goal typical of this City side at their absolute best.
Though the pace dropped thereafter, another good move brought the fourth goal when Kalidou Koulibaly clumsily bundled Foden to the ground and the referee had little choice but to point to the spot. Mahrez did the rest, lashing the ball high into the net.
There might even be an argument that City look more fluid with Alvarez making these unselfish runs up front than Erling Haaland, the team’s prolific striker, stood there banging them in himself. Either way, it is the sort of problem that Potter would love to have.
Throughout the second half, sections of the 8,000-strong travelling support chanted the name of his predecessor Thomas Tuchel, having earlier sang the name of the now departed owner Roman Abramovich. All is not well at Chelsea. The Man City machine rolls on.
Source: Sky Sports