Chelsea’s catastrophic away record against the ‘big six’ sides continued embarrassingly, as Sergio Aguero netted a record-equalling 11th hat-trick of his Premier League career in Manchester City’s 6-0 win.
The cataclysmic nature of the Blues emerged within just four minutes of kick-off. The quick feet and slaloming dribbles of Bernardo Silva saw him lay the ball on a plate for Raheem Sterling to finish and provide the opener in what would turn out to be Chelsea’s worst ever defeat in the Premier League era.
Aguero soon made amends for a jaw-dropping miss at the back post, curling in from 25 yards to quickly double the reigning champions’ lead.
Two goals inside six minutes then made it 4-0 with just 25 minutes played. Aguero was again on the scene, continuing his impressive start to 2019, capitalising on a wayward Ross Barkley header to turn the ball in from close range.
Overlapping runs were the next such manoeuvre to undo the fragile Chelsea backline, with the ball eventually breaking to Ilkay Gundogan to curl into the corner.
The second half was an attempt to save face, but an Aguero penalty and another Sterling tap-in ensured no such pride would prevail, as Maurizio Sarri’s men dropped to sixth in the table.
Here are our Chelsea player ratings from the 6-0 defeat.
Kepa Arrizabalaga - 5
Kepa has suffered endlessly from the error-strewn performances of the defence in front of him. But he has now conceded all of his last eight shots against him away from home.
Cesar Azpilicueta - 4
Sterling ran him into the ground, and his frustrations laid bare when he brought down the Englishman in the area, conceding a needless penalty.
Antonio Rudiger - 5
Possibly the least calamitous but that was more due to his inability to impose himself on the game over any discernible skill or composure.
David Luiz - 4
Couldn’t get close to Silva or Aguero, leaving them with the space necessary to consistently hurt Chelsea. Luiz lacked any leadership or professional pride.
Marcos Alonso - 4
Inexplicably lost his marker from a short free-kick, and going forward he could never get the ball out of his feet quickly enough to spark up a dangerous connection with Eden Hazard.
N'Golo Kante - 5
In contributing to the disjointed press further up the pitch, Kante left gaps in behind which Jorginho couldn’t plug, and Manchester City exploited.
Jorginho - 4
Guardiola deployed Silva and De Bruyne to isolate the Italian, and it worked seamlessly, with his passing channels cut and his movement limited. City effectively strangled his influence and dominated the midfield from then.
Ross Barkley - 3
Looked completely out of his depth, making a crucial error for City’s third goal. Replaced after 52 minutes after poorly fading.
Pedro - 5
Got himself into dangerous areas on a couple of occasions but lacked the conviction to drag Chelsea back into the game.
Gonzalo Higuain - 6
In the first half, he was by far the sharpest player in a Chelsea shirt, chasing loose balls and holding up play well before testing Ederson with a dipping volley. His fitness issues were quite apparent, however, in the second half as he failed to get on the ball.
Eden Hazard - 5
Snaked his way through the City midfield in a couple of early flashes of brilliance, but his influence never amounted to anything substantial, especially for a player of his quality.
Mateo Kovacic – 5: He tried to press high up the pitch, but his half-hearted efforts were always going to be in vain.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 6: Showcased his power and directness, but his runs were lacking the cutting edge decision-making of an elite level midfielder.
Emerson – 5: He was brought on to stop the rot and offered very little, other than a more conservative defensive effort.