Chelsea morale takes a beat­ing as team suf­fers a 4-0 loss to Man City

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY STEVE DOU­GLAS

One point from two games. An un­seemly spat with med­i­cal staff. A por­ous de­fense. A ri­val back to its ram­pant best.

The prob­lems are piling up for Chelsea man­ager Jose Mour­inho early in its Premier League ti­tle de­fense.

In the first heavy­weight show­down of the sea­son, Chelsea was over­whelmed Sun­day in a 3-0 loss at Manch­ester City that could have a last­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect among the two ti­tle fa­vorites.

Ser­gio Aguero scored a stun­ning in­di­vid­ual strike in the first half be­fore Vin­cent Kom­pany and Fer­nand­inho added goals in the fi­nal 11 min­utes, as City dis­played the kind of at­tack­ing swag­ger that took them to the ti­tle in 2014.

“To­day we made the com­plete work,” said City man­ager Manuel Pel­le­grini, who punched the air with de­light af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle as a solemn-look­ing Mour­inho headed for the tun­nel.

City tops the fledg­ling stand­ings on max­i­mum points, ahead of Le­ices­ter and Manch­ester United on goal dif­fer­ence, while Chelsea is fifth from bot­tom af­ter an un­com­fort­able start to the sea­son.

Such was Mour­inho’s con­cern af­ter a one-sided first half at Eti­had Sta­dium that he re­moved cap­tain and cen­tral de­fender John Terry at half­time, in or­der to add pace to his back­line. It was the first time in 177 league matches that Mour­inho has sub­sti­tuted Terry.

“He was not danc­ing in the dress­ing room,” Mour­inho said, “but I can tell you that he was not hav­ing a bad re­ac­tion.”

Chelsea has con­ceded five goals in two games — it drew 2-2 at home to Swansea on the open­ing week­end — and isn’t look­ing as dy­namic go­ing for­ward.

Throw in his much-pub­li­cized dis­agree­ment with two mem­bers of Chelsea’s med­i­cal staff dur­ing the Swansea game, which led to them be­ing dropped from match­day du­ties at City, and these are tough times for Mour­inho.

City, which looks the early ti­tle fa­vorite on this ev­i­dence, is al­ready five points ahead of last sea­son’s cham­pi­ons.

In Sun­day’s other match, Ar­se­nal won its first match of the cam­paign by beat­ing Crys­tal Palace 2-1 away, restor­ing con­fi­dence af­ter open­ing with a sur­prise 2-0 home loss to West Ham.

A stun­ning scis­sor kick by Olivier Giroud set Ar­se­nal on its way in the 16th minute and it needed an own goal in the 55th by Palace de­fender Damien De­laney to se­cure the points at Sel­hurst Park.

Joel Ward equal­ized with a drilled shot in­side the far post in the 28th, but the Palace right back then beaten in the air by Alexis Sanchez, whose header was di­verted by De­laney into his own net for Ar­se­nal’s win­ner.

“To get the three (points) is al­ready a lit­tle bit of a turn­ing point in the Premier League for us. To lose to­day would have been a big blow men­tally,” Ar­se­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger said. “We have shown our strong re­sponse.”

At Eti­had Sta­dium, Aguero made amends for a slew of early missed chances by ex­chang­ing passes with Yaya Toure, twist­ing in­side his marker and plac­ing a pin­point shot in­side the far post in the 32nd minute.

Kom­pany headed in David Silva’s cor­ner in the 79th and Fer­nand­inho drove in a third six min­utes later for City’s sec­ond 3-0 vic­tory in seven days, af­ter beat­ing West Bromwich Al­bion by that score on Mon­day.

Se­nior stars Toure and Kom­pany look back to their best and Aguero was a con­stant men­ace in his first start, hav­ing come back late in pre­sea­son.

“I think Ser­gio Aguero is in the best mo­ment of his ca­reer,” Pel­le­grini said. “He was the top scorer (last sea­son). I be­lieve this sea­son he can be even bet­ter.”

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