Bernardo Silva’s goal 34 seconds into the second half earned Manchester City a 1-0 win over a Chelsea side who failed to turn up at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The narrow winning margin flattered the defending champions, who did not register a single shot on target in an unambitious attempt at a smash-and-grab from Antonio Conte.
Having seen how the Citizens twice put Arsenal to the sword this week, Chelsea were very defensive in their approach and were more than content to sit off the hosts.
Two of City’s goal scorers at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday – Leroy Sane and Bernardo – combined to set up the latter for a curling shot which glanced the roof of the net on 21 minutes.
Sane was City’s biggest threat and he came close to giving the hosts the lead before the half-hour mark when he worked a deep free kick from Kevin De Bruyne back onto his right foot and shot past Thibaut Courtois, only for Cesar Azpilicueta to clear off the line.
For the first time since Opta records began in the 2003-04 campaign, Chelsea failed to register a single attempt on goal during the first half, with an isolated and frustrated Eden Hazard living off little service.
Chelsea’s plan to keep out City was undone immediately after the restart when a miscued clearance from Andreas Christensen fell to Sergio Aguero, who teed up David Silva for a cross which Bernardo turned home at the far post.
For a brief 10-minute spell, the Blues showed signs of life and created their one and only clear-cut chance when Fabregas released Moses, who sliced his shot wide of Ederson’s goal from a tight angle.
The hosts responded by quickly wrestling back control of the game but they were unable to put Chelsea away as Courtois stood firm at his near post to push away Silva’s shot after a driving run from the Spaniard.