• De Bruyne rocket sinks Chelsea, United routs Palace


    Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Willian (left) vies with Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in London. AFP PHOTO

    LONDON: Manchester City underlined their title credentials as Kevin De Bruyne’s thunderbolt sealed an impressive 1-0 win at Chelsea, while Manchester United remain hot on their heels after a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

    Having lost the Premier League leadership to United earlier in the day, City moved back above their bitter rivals on goal difference thanks to De Bruyne’s second half blast.

    Pep Guardiola’s side celebrated a fifth successive league win, and eighth in a row in all competitions, strengthening their belief they can dethrone champions Chelsea.

    Chelsea’s first defeat since an opening weekend loss to Burnley leaves them six points behind City in fourth place.

    Despite the absence of Sergio Aguero after the Argentine striker broke a rib in a car crash on Thursday, City dominated and almost took a first half lead when Thibaut Courtois pushed out Fernandinho’s header.

    Chelsea suffered a blow when Spain striker Alvaro Morata limped off in the 35th minute and, struggling to get a foothold for long periods, they finally cracked in the 67th minute.

    Taking Gabriel Jesus’s pass in stride, De Bruyne advanced unchecked to the edge of the penalty area and smashed a fierce strike past Courtois for his first league goal this season.

    “We are so happy. The most important thing is to win the game but the way we played especially in the second half was pleasing. Chelsea could not play and had to do long balls,” Guardiola said.

    Blues boss Antonio Conte added: “It was a tough game but we know very well that City are a big team. We created chances but didn’t take them. City had chances and they took them.”

    With Romelu Lukaku scoring his seventh goal in his last six appearances, United maintained their own blistering form.

    Jose Mourinho’s men have now won six successive matches in all competitions.

    Bottom of the table Palace arrived at Old Trafford as the first English top-flight team to lose their first six games without scoring a single goal.



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