Five key takeaways from Manchester City's rout of Chelsea
It took David Silva only a few seconds to penetrate Chelsea's defence at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday as he threaded a through ball to Sergio Aguero soon after Martin Atkinson blew his whistle to signal kick-off between the two best teams in the Premier League from last year.
Though Aguero failed to compliment the brilliance of Silva's perfectly weighted and measured pass with a clinical finish, that brief passage of play offered enough evidence of what the challengers eventually had in store for the champions through the course of the ninety minutes.
Having relinquished their crown rather meekly last season, Manuel Pellegrini's men made more than just a statement against the Blues in the campaign's first home match. City were imperious going forward in what possibly was the finest attacking performance by any team so far in the new season.
“The best team in the second half was Chelsea for sure. We had a difficult first half, we didn't create a lot and our goalkeeper made a few important saves. Second half everything was different. If the 1-0 was a doubtful result at minute 70, 3-0 is completely fake. At 1-0 Chelsea were the best team for the whole second half,” was Jose Mourinho's verdict after his team slumped to their first defeat of the season.
Though no conclusions can be drawn after Gameweek 2, the nature of City's performance will have surely boosted their title credentials in the eyes of all rivals.
Billed as one of the games to look out for on the footballing calendar, this clash of heavyweights was as one-sided as it could get.
Here are five key takeaways from City's demolition job of the defending champions.
When fit, Sergio Aguero is world's best striker
At times the Argentine was unplayable against Chelsea. Though he walked off the pitch in the 83rd minute, substituted by Wilfried Bony, with just a goal to his name, in reality he could have had four but for the brilliance of the Chelsea keeper. Having being denied three times in the opening 20 minutes, the 27-year-old converted a rather difficult chance to put his side ahead. Last season's Golden Boot winner, is likely to have a definitive say in this year's race provided he stays fit.
Asmir Begovic is the real deal
The Stoke goalkeeper moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer knowing fully well his outings would be restricted to the FA Cup and League Cup. However, a three-match ban on Thibaut Courtois handed Begovic a chance to make an early impression on his new employers. Begovic foiled Aguero on three occasions in the first 20 minutes. He was solid and could do little to prevent the three goals that City conceded. The 28-year-old was Chelsea's best player and showed he was more than just Courtois' understudy.
Chelsea's defence needs reinforcements
The usually reliable and consistent Branislav Ivanovic was Chelsea's biggest liability on the pitch against City. Tormented by Jefferson Montero last week, on Sunday it was Raheem Sterling's chance to pile on the misery for the defender. Having barely recovered from chasing Sterling's shadow, Kompany inflicted more pain as he bullied Ivanovic to head in City's second. John Terry was substituted for the first time in his career under Jose, while Cahill was clearly outclassed by Aguero. There is need to bolster the club's backline, which is why they have made Everton defender John Stones their number one target in the transfer window.
Key Manchester City players back to their best form
Some of City's best players – Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany and David Silva went off the boil during the second half of last season. Despite a second place finish, the Manchester club never really posed a serious threat to Chelsea. After Gameweek 2, its fairly obvious that these stars now not only look hungry but also desperate to reclaim the crown. Kompany has two goals already, both from Silva's corners. Toure too is back to his imposing best, dominating the Chelsea midfielders in the middle of the park.
Raheem Sterling can blossom at City
Raheem Sterling become the most expensive English player in history after he moved from Liverpool to City for £49 million. The debate about him being worthy of that price tag split the football world into half. From his home debut against Chelsea, it is clear that the England star will flourish at his new club. Sterling destroyed Ivanonic with his pace and showcased his brilliance in flashes. Despite being replaced by Demichelis in 79th minute, the 20-year-old pleased the club's fans with what he had to offer.