Chelsea suffered yet another defeat as they were crushed at Stamford Bridge by a Sergio Aguero hat-trick. Thibaut Courtois conceded a penalty and was also sent off for the hosts, as their season continued to fall apart. The Blues remain in 10th place, but this display does little for morale ahead of next term, when City are expected to come back even stronger.
Once again, Abdul Baba Rahman had his chance at left back. Cesar Azpilicueta moved to the right hand side, as Branislav Ivanovic joined Gary Cahill in an experienced central defence. Diego Costa returned after his suspension, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek kept his place in the team. While it was a very changed side that Hiddink put out, there was plenty of experience and quality (at least on paper!) in the side.
Ahead of the game the Blues should have been looking to send out a message against City. They were fourth in the table, a place that Chelsea will be aiming for next season as a minimum requirement. With City now showing their worth domestically and in Europe, this was a chance for the champions to demonstrate that they’ve been through a blip, but they can still mix it with the best.
That’s not the message we received. If it hadn’t been clear already, it was now obvious that Chelsea are in major trouble. Aguero put them to the sword just after the half hour mark. He didn’t do it alone, he had help from a former Blue. The Argentine was fed through by Kevin de Bruyne, a man who should have been playing for Chelsea, not against them.
The Belgian was part of a slick City midfield who devastated Chelsea with counter-attacks. Hiddink’s side looked disorganised at the back, and they were wide open when City came charging towards goal. In the second half some neat interplay between City’s attacking midfielders saw Nasri in space, before playing Aguero in for his second goal.
Chelsea looked very much like a mid-table side who were off the pace. If you walked into this game with no background knowledge, you’d struggle to believe there were any title winners in their side. While they may not have any trophies to challenge for, there are things which should motivate the Blues. Putting right their awful season and impressing their incoming manager hasn’t seemed to have crossed the players’ minds.
The final blow was dealt by Aguero from the penalty spot. Courtois tripped Fernandinho, and received a straight red. Asmir Begovic replaced John Obi Mikel, but the Bosnian keeper couldn’t do anything to stop the penalty.
If that result wasn’t bad enough, the Blues are now without their first choice keeper for the next two games. This has been an awful season for Courtois, as well as the rest of the team. While there doesn’t seem to be anything than can inspire the squad for these final clashes, at least we know the campaign is almost over.