Eden Hazard started his first Premier League game of the season for the Blues but was largely ineffectual as Chelsea struggled to score against top opposition again at home.

With perhaps the largest downer of the day being Alvaro Morata’s withdrawal after just 35 minutes with a hamstring injury, Chelsea’s play worsened following his exit as replacement Willian couldn’t prevent City controlling the midfield. Chelsea drop to fourth following this result and Tottenham’s win and are now six points off the pace of the Manchester clubs at the top on 19 points. Liverpool can also overtake the Blues, should they dispatch Newcastle tomorrow.

Four of Alvaro Morata’s goals and each of his assists this season have been headers, and the Spaniard’s head was the source of Chelsea’s best chance of the first half today. N’Golo Kante found him six yards out but the striker could only loop the ball over the far post.

Manchester City tested Chelsea’s defence with rapid, fluid counter-attacking play throughout the early stages and for much of the game. The Citizens could have found themselves up early on, after Raheem Sterling got himself behind the Blues’ defensive lines, but the winger could not pick out Gabriel Jesus or David Silva who were lurking at the back post.

Soon after things went from bad to worse for the Blues as Morata limped off clutching his hamstring and Conte’s decision to bring on the industrious Willian as his replacement rather than Michy Batshuayi was ineffective. Thibaut Courtois did manage to keep the score-line level for the half time interval however, pushing Fernandinho’s header out with a superb reflex save.

The sole goal of the game did inevitably come after the break though, and the breakthrough followed a neat one-two between Kevin de Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus on the edge of the box. De Bruyne caught the return ball running at speed, before unleashing a left-footed shot across Thibaut Courtois into the top corner 66 minutes in.

It was nothing more than the visitors deserved as City had been probing even more intensely in the minutes leading up to the goal. Sterling found himself in behind Marcos Alonso twice in a minute around the hour mark. But both attempts were thwarted by the Chelsea backline.

Michy Batshuayi and Pedro came on shortly after City took the lead, as Eden Hazard and Tiémoué Bakayoko replaced them on the bench. The changes made little difference though as only a small late flurry of attacking action was achieved, while at the other end Antonio Rudiger was needed on the line to clear and prevent Gabriel Jesus from doubling the City advantage.

Chelsea have now failed to score at the Bridge in the last two games following the 0-0 against Arsenal as well as this result. Watford and Manchester United are the next to visit and if Chelsea fail to score against the Red Devils on November 5th they could well be out of the race before Christmas.

There is certainly an opportunity to get back on track well before that though, and next up for the Blues are whipping boys Crystal Palace who have failed to score in all seven games so far this season. Manchester City and United put five and four past them respectively and Chelsea will have to do similarly to show fans they can still match Manchester’s might.