Premier League review: Chelsea burst Manchester City’s bubble
Alex Sharp looks back at another action-packed instalment of Premier League football, as Chelsea ended City's unbeaten run
The Manchester City bubble has burst. They’re out of the Champions League and have now lost their unbeaten Premier League run.
The hangover from their European exit was evident at Stamford Bridge as City missed the clinical, flowing and ruthless football they displayed in their first 14 games.
Roberto Mancini’s side have had just seven shots in each of their last two away league matches, after averaging 20 per game in the previous six – the confidence and fluidity appear to be shaking.
It had started so brightly, too, with Mario Balotelli latching onto a sublime Sergio Aguero pass to net his eighth goal in his last 10 league games within two minutes.
The Italy international is in red-hot form but his team-mates seem to be dipping.
Chelsea, meanwhile, look to be clawing their way back onto a mini-run of form as 3-0 wins over Newcastle, Valencia and Wolves have shown – but Monday was the true test.
The result has blown open the title race again and perhaps has brought City back down to earth. The winter period is crucial – and certainly the London clubs have the momentum, and United have a wealth of experience.
Will Mancini manage to keep the egos in check or will it be cold turkey? The temperament of these stars will now be under intense scrutiny. They look to have lost that aura, that spark – and Arsenal’s trip to the Etihad on Sunday will be massive.
Elsewhere, if Tottenham had won at Stoke, they would have won seven league games in a row for the first time since 1967. It’s clear the defeat was a blip (thanks to some referee blunder gold from Chris Foy) and that Spurs will continue to purr if their stars stay fit.
At the other end of the table, Wigan’s Victor Moses finally ended his baron run, with his first goal of the season from his 46th shot this term.
And Sunderland got off the mark under the highly entertaining Martin O’Neill to end their miserable run with a late fightback against Blackburn.
O’Neill’s enthusiasm and desire is infectious, and if he can find a striker in January to replace the panto villain Nicklas Bendtner, Sunderland have a superb manager and the infrastructure to start winning games.