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Man City go 18 points clear with victory over Chelsea | Match report

Bernardo Silva has scored two goals in his last two Premier League
games for Manchester City, as many as he managed in his first 25 for the club

Bernardo Silva's goal less than a minute into the second half pushed Manchester City closer to the Premier League title as they overcame a surprisingly negative Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side were forced to bide their time before making the breakthrough and it came when Silva stole in ahead of Marcos Alonso from David Silva's cross to beat Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and give City a mammoth 18-point lead at the top of the table.

Chelsea did not register a single shot on target, leaving Manchester City keeper Ederson a virtual bystander as he was even able to watch Alonso's timid shot drift wide with seconds left.

It was a disappointing day for Chelsea and manager Antonio Conte - and of even greater concern is that they are now five points adrift of Tottenham in fourth place in the race for spots in next season's Champions League.

Man City's winning game of patience

Manchester City's season has been characterised by regular flourishes that will make them worthy Premier League champions when the formalities are finally concluded.

Here, against a Chelsea side surprisingly devoid of ambition, Pep Guardiola's champions-elect were forced to show patience rather than the dazzling brilliance they have demonstrated on so many occasions.

Chelsea's massed ranks formed a blue wall of defensive defiance, organised and well-drilled, leaving City to enjoy almost total possession and search for any gaps in the barricade assembled by Antonio Conte.

City, in the manner of champions, played the waiting game, almost unlocking Chelsea when Leroy Sane's touch and control created an opening, only for Cesar Azpilicueta to scramble his shot off the line.

It was a day for attrition as opposed to artistry and City confirmed they have both sides to their character, punishing Chelsea for a slow start to the second half, Sergio Aguero playing in David Silva, whose cross was met by his namesake Bernardo at the far post.

In driving rain, and with Chelsea mysteriously refusing to take off the handbrake, they were able to close out a victory that will, in its own way, have brought as much pleasure to Guardiola as many of the more spectacular wins this season.

It was an indication of how they had to keep their head and be patient that they played a total of 902 passes, more than any other team has managed in a Premier League game since 2003/04.

City, with a performance that showed their adaptability, edged nearer to the title.
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