Good afternoon, everybody, it’s time for The Match Of The Season (part one in a series of twenty or so.) Manchester City versus Chelsea. The champions of two years ago against the champions from last year. Manchester City purred, against West Bromwich Albion on Monday night. Even though the Albion manager Tony Pulis did at least stand up and state publicly that he got his formation wrong for this match – not a level of honesty that we could expect from all Premier League managers, of course) – which means that it is, perhaps, difficult to say how comfortable this win was might have been down to Albion’s lackadaisicality, it was still a performance of such confidence and control that the players, officials and supporters of the other clubs with title aspirations might have felt a cold chill come over them.

Let’s not get too bogged down in the Mourinho-manufactured controversy that has hung over Stamford Bridge over the course of the last week. Hippocratic oath, schmipocrattic oath, and all that. And besides, even with Dr Nick Riviera sitting alongside Mourinho on the bench this afternoon, let’s not forget that Chelsea have been sluggish in pre-season and were little better than mediocre last Saturday against Swansea City. Having said that, though, no-one has ever got wealthy themselves as a result of betting against a temporarily set-back uber-club bouncing back, so let’s not rule out the possibility of an away win this afternoon. But first. the teams:

Manchester City: Hart; Sagna, Kompany (C), Mangala, Kolarov; Yaya Toure, Fernandinho; Navas, Silva, Sterling; Aguero. Substitutes: Caballero, Zabaleta, Clichy, Nasri, Demichelis, Bony, Iheanacho.

Chelsea: Begovic; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Ramires, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Hazard; Diego Costa. Substitutes: Blackman, Zouma, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek, Cuadrado, Falcao, Remy.

They’re about to open the new stand at The Etihad Stadium, which brings the capacity up to 55,000. If it’s full today, it’ll be the biggest crowd here since 1973, face fans. Meanwhile, we’ll be back with all the latest updates – including what happened when I went to an all-day birthing class with my wife this morning, if I run out of other things to talk about – at kick-off time.

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Ian August 16, 20154:02 pm

4.00: Look, I’ll put it this way. When you’ve inspected a rubber mock-up of a heavily dilated uterus, you’re ready for anything. Wonder if this makes me more qualified as a doctor than Jose Mourinho?
But I digress. City kick off, shooting left to right, Sergio Aguero breaks down the middle and, after just twenty-four seconds, his shot is well blocked by Asmir Begovic, who is, of course, in for the suspended Courtois.

Ian August 16, 20154:03 pm

4.00: Look, I’ll put it this way. When you’ve inspected a rubber mock-up of a heavily dilated uterus at ten o’clock in the morning, you’re ready for anything for the rest of the day, I reckon. Wonder if this makes me more qualified as a doctor than Jose Mourinho? But I digress. City kick off, shooting left to right, Sergio Aguero breaks down the middle and, after just twenty-four seconds, his shot is well blocked by Asmir Begovic, who is, of course, in for the suspended Courtois.

Ian August 16, 20154:06 pm

4.05: My wife informs me that I was, in fact, holding a heavily dilated cervix, not a heavily dilated uterus. Perhaps Jose Mourinho is a better doctor than me, after all.

Ian August 16, 20154:12 pm

4.10: Free kick swung over from the left-hand side. Agueroooooooo slides in but can’t quite make contact with the ball and Begovic catches with some degree of comfort. Chelsea haven’t looked defensively very steady, so far. Aguerooooooooo didn’t have a marker anywhere near him.

Ian August 16, 20154:17 pm

4.15: That new stand at The Etihad Stadium, then. The most obviously notable thing about is – apart from the fact that it increases the stadium capacity to the third highest in the Premier League – that it’s much closer to the pitch than the old one was. Meanwhile, on the pitch, Agueroooooo wriggles his way to a little freedom inside the penalty area, but his fierce, low shot is brilliantly saved by Begovic. Two minutes later, a low cross from the right, another low, driven shot from Aguero (yeah, I’m giving up on that joke already – it wasn’t that funny to start with), ANOTHER brilliant save by Begovic! Watch Chelsea score now.

Ian August 16, 20154:24 pm

4.20: Chelsea attack! Okay, they did earlier too, which led to a tenth of a percentage of a shot for a penalty, but still. This time, a free-kick looks dangerous because of that weird looking (and so far as I can see very dangerous) high line of defence that so many teams seem to play these days, the silly billies. It’s dealt with comfortably enough, though. The other end of the pitch, meanwhile, another dangerous cross from the left from Kolarov, and Aguero (yes, yet again) slides in but can’t connect properly with the ball from five yards out, and it dribbles harmlessly wide. It feels as though Chelsea are going to have to rearrange in order to deal with Aguero, at some point.

Ian August 16, 20154:28 pm

4.25: The longer the half wears on without Manchester City scoring, the more it will suit Chelsea. One would assume that Mourinho would be happy enough with a point from this match, and you rather get the feeling that no team can afford to squander the volume of chances that Manchester City have in the first twenty-five minutes of this game against a team like Chelsea.

Ian August 16, 20154:34 pm

4.31: GOAL! Manchester City 1-0 (Aguero) – It had to come, eventually, didn’t it? A tidy one-two on the edge of the penalty area between Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero, and Aguero, who has been the best player on the pitch throughout this half, finally rolls the ball wide of Begovic. Thirty seconds later, yellow card for Vincent Kompany for a needless foul on Costa. The resulting free-kick doinks off the top of Gary Cahill’s head and drops well wide. That *probably* counts as a chance for Chelsea.

Ian August 16, 20154:36 pm

4.35: Remember Raheem Sterling? Yeah, he’s on the pitch, too. A long, diagonal ball is flicked back by Aguero, but Sterling’s shot blazes well over the crossbar. A couple of minutes later, Sterling rolls the ball wide to Kolarov, but his low cross is deflected wide. Manchester City are giving Chelsea a schooling, at the moment.

Ian August 16, 20154:43 pm

4.40: A bit better from Chelsea. Some nice close passing on the left hand side of the penalty area, then the ball comes out to Fabregas, whose low shot rolls a yard or so wide of the goal. It wasn’t particularly close, but it’s as close t a goal as Chelsea have come, so far.

Ian August 16, 20154:47 pm

4.45: Second biggest cheer of the afternoon, as the Chelsea medical staff (not, not *them*) run onto the pitch to have a look at Cahill, whose taken a biff to the nose and is dribbling blood everywhere. It’s probably nothing, so hey shove some cotton wool up one of his nostrils and leave him to get on with it. Yellow card for Fernandinho, whose arms shunts into the face of Diego Costa.

Ian August 16, 20154:54 pm

4..50: Half-time – Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea: Impressive again from Manchester City, who looked in control for most of the half and who might, perhaps, have been two or three up were it not for an excellent performance from Begovic. Chelsea need to shuffle their pack. That one shot from Fabregas aside, they haven’t really gotten going and deserve to be a goal behind. Back in fifteen for the second half.

Ian August 16, 20155:08 pm

5.05: Aaaaaand, we’re back. Diego Costa had to be restrained from opening up a can of whoopass on Fernandinho as the players went off for half-time, controversy fans. Meanwhile, Zouma has come on for John Terry for Chelsea. In other news, I found out this morning that I’ll have at least some access to laughing gas when my wife gives birth. Well, there’s no way *that* can go wrong.

Ian August 16, 20155:12 pm

5.10: Raheem Sterling shows up Ivanovic’s lack off pace in racing past him and getting tripped up. Yellow card for Ivanovic. The free kick is only half cleared, Ivanovic drills the ball across the six yard area, and Cahill clears, though in all honesty that ball could have gone anywhere, including into Chelsea’s goal. At the other end of the pitch, the ball is flicked into the penalty area, Ramires bundles the ball over the line, but the flag is up for offside, so no goal.

Ian August 16, 20155:13 pm

5.10: Raheem Sterling shows up Ivanovic’s lack off pace in racing past him and getting tripped up. Yellow card for Ivanovic. The free kick is only half cleared, Ivanovic drills the ball across the six yard area, and Cahill clears, though in all honesty that ball could have gone anywhere, including into Chelsea’s goal. At the other end of the pitch, the ball is flicked into the penalty area, Ramires bundles the ball over the line, but the flag is up for offside, so no goal. News for fact fans: that half-time substitution was the first time that John Terry has ever been substituted by Jose Mourinho.

Ian August 16, 20155:15 pm

5.15: Chelsea have woken up a little bit since half-time, and Manchester City have given away a couple of needless free-kicks. Willian swings one in from the left, but the ball skims off Navas’s head and Joe Hart catches comfortably. It’s all getting a bit kicky and niggly, though.

Ian August 16, 20155:18 pm

5.18: Theory on the substitution of John Terry at half-time.

Could be, though Everton have been pretty firm in saying “no” so far, haven’t they, and their win at Southampton seemed to demonstrate how important he is to them.

Ian August 16, 20155:20 pm

5.20: Theory on the substitution of John Terry at half-time.

Could be, though Everton have been pretty firm in saying “no” so far, haven’t they, and their win at Southampton seemed to demonstrate how important he is to them.

Ian August 16, 20155:28 pm

5.25: Chelsea’s defence again curiously slow to shut Sergio Aguero down, but his shot flies just wide of Begovic’s right hand post. Substitution for Manchester City – Samir Nasri comes on for Navas. This afternoon’s attendance, by the way, is 54,331.

Ian August 16, 20155:33 pm

5.30: Chelsea’s best chance of the match, so far. They break from half-way and a through ball finds Diego Costa, who drags the ball back to Eden Hazard and his shot is excellently saved by Hart. A handy reminder for Manuel Pellegrini, who I haven’t mentioned at all until now this afternoon, I don’t think, that Manchester City’s lead is still brittle, for as long as it remains just the one goal. Just under twenty minutes to play.

Ian August 16, 20155:36 pm

5.35: Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves that Leicester City will stay top of the Premier League, should Chelsea score.Let’s also take a moment to remind the world that the person who sold details of their relationship with Eva Carneiro to The Sun is Rupert Patterson-Ward. Let’s boost his Google ratings by mentioning him, just in case any future employers search his name. Hey, potential future employers! Rupert Patterson-Ward sounds like a right dick, to me.

Ian August 16, 20155:43 pm

5.40: GOAL! Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea (Kompany): I was just wondering about Vincent Kompany, you know. Getting booked after half an hour isn’t usually a strong look for a central defender in such a big match, but this is part of what he’s paid for – an outswinging corner from the left, and Kompany leaps and heads the ball across goal and in off the far post. Eleven minutes left to play, and that just about looks like game over, to me.

Ian August 16, 20155:45 pm

5.45: Substitution for Manchester City. With the second goal now scored, Aguero can take a little breather. Wilfried Bony comes on to replace him.

Ian August 16, 20155:48 pm

5.47: GOAL! Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea (Fernandinho): Good lord, what was Chelsea’s defence doing, there? City break down the left and it looks for a moment as if Chelsea will clear the ball, but a slack clearance plays the ball straight into the path of Fernandinho, who cracks the ball across the goal from the edge of the penalty area and in. Leicester City ain’t going to be top of the Premier League in about six or seven minutes or so.

Ian August 16, 20155:55 pm

5.55: Chelsea hit the post with fifteen seconds of stoppage time left to play, and the rebound is blocked. It wouldn’t have made much of a difference anyway, to be honest.

Ian August 16, 20156:00 pm

Full-Time: Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea – Well, if Jose Mourinho really *was* blabbering on about his medical staff all week to deflect attention away from his team’s tepid start to the season, he’s only managed to put off news of it leaking into the public consciousness, I think it’s reasonable to say that this could only be considered the temporary application of a sticking plaster. City, who were excellent again and have put in two outstanding performances in two matches far this season, didn’t have enough spare to be able to take their foot off the pedal in the same way that they could against West Bromwich Albion last week, but being able to say, “Look, we weren’t as outplayed as Albion were on Monday” isn’t much of a claim for a defending champions to make.

Aguero was the best player on the pitch, but there weren’t any City players who didn’t look a level above their counterparts this afternoon, and really the only Chelsea player to emerge from this match with a great deal of credit was stand-in goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who made several excellent saves. It’s too soon to write Chelsea off, obviously, but they need a little work carried out on that team. Manchester City, meanwhile, looked imperious. Have a great evening, everybody, I’ll be back with some Sunday evening retro football for you later. Oh, and one more thing: Rupert Patterson-Ward sounds like a right dick, to me.