By Manchester correspondent Alex Stevens
Chelsea are looking more disorganised than in memory and other things we learned from Manchester City’s convincing win over their title rivals.
Chelsea look a shadow of the 2014/15 title winners
Little has seemingly changed at Stamford Bridge since Chelsea romped to the 2014/15 title. It is virtually the same group of players, the same management team, the same board and owners. Perhaps that is the problem. Something certainly is. Chelsea’s worst start to the Premier League season since 1998 may just be a blip but the shockwaves will spread as far over the coming days as they did following the medical meltdown after the Swansea opening-day draw. Jose Mourinho’s team appear disorganised and demotivated, two traits rarely associated with a Mourinho team. It was not just the three goals conceded to the 2013/14 champions, it was the opportunities they were allowed to create and the space they were given to demonstrate their attacking prowess. One telling statistic is that Chelsea have conceded 28 goal attempts to City and Swansea in the last two matches. By contrast, last season their opponents averaged three goal attempts per game.
Aguero remains the Premier League’s finest striker
Diego Costa, Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney will all have their supporters. But few neutrals would argue that the title of the Premier League’s pre-eminent striker still belongs firmly to Sergio Aguero. Since Luis Suarez’s departure to Spain, the little Argentine maestro has stood above his fellow goal-plunderers, claiming 26 Premier League goals last season and opening his account for this with a goal that demonstrated perfectly his special alchemy of technique, awareness and command of the penalty box. In truth, Aguero was not at his razor-sharp best in this game. He was denied three times by Asmir Begovic in the early exchanges but kept knocking on the door and got his reward with a superb demonstration of how to conjure space and time in an absurdly tight area. Should he remain fully fit, and avoid the hamstring niggles that have pockmarked his City career, it is hard to see how Aguero will be denied the leading scorer title this season.
Terry is not untouchable under Mourinho
At times, it has appeared that Mourinho holds John Terry in higher regard that any of the players he has ever managed. But even the Chelsea skipper is not immune to Mourinho’s ruthless side. Of the 176 previous times the Portugese had selected Terry for a league match, he completed them all bar the one in which he was sent off. Yet Terry was unable to extend that amazing sequence following a horrible opening 45 minutes in which City carved out opportunities at will and ran the visitors’ defence ragged. The manager responded by replacing Terry at half-time with Kurt Zouma and showing that not even the feted centre-back is untouchable. Is John Stones being targeted to immediately replace Terry rather than partner him?
Fabregas is a yard off the pace
Terry suffered the humiliation of being substituted at half-time but that fate could easily have fallen to any one of half a dozen men in dark blue, including Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard had a horrible game. He offered little protection to the defence alongside Nemanja Matic and his distribution was strangely mediocre. He looked a yard off the pace. The midfielder is renowned for flying out of the blocks at the start of the season at his current and former clubs but that has not been the case in the new campaign.
City have the attacking power to destroy any opponent
What a turnaround from the City team that often looked out of sync in the big matches last season. Hungry, purposeful and commanding, they flew at Chelsea from the start and did not let up until all three points were secured with Fernandinho’s thrilling strike. Question marks hover over the defence, not least impetuous skipper Vincent Kompany, but at the other end of the pitch Manuel Pellegrini has an embarrassment of riches. Sergio Aguero and David Silva remain at the peak of their considerable powers and an already powerful front four has been bolstered by Raheem Sterling’s pace and clever movement, with Kevin de Bruyne to potentially join them. Opposition defences, be afraid. Be very afraid.