Substitute Jack Grealish’s cross was turned in by fellow reserve star Riyad Mahrez to earn all three points in City’s title race with Arsenal.
It was harsh on the Blues who spent large parts of the match dominating even after losing both Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic to injury early in the first half.
There was no shame to lose in such circumstances but the Premier League table still has Graham Potter’s side in tenth place, 10 points behind the top four.
Nizaar Kinsella was at Stamford Bridge to rate the Chelsea players…
Kepa Arrizabalaga – 4
Handled his first two saves from Kevin De Bruyne well but they were ones you’d expect him to save. He was surprisingly unable to cut out Grealish’s cross for the goal.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 5
Faced fewer attacks than his counterpart on the left but released a few important counter-attacks with his intelligent passing. The goal did come down his side in a combined fault between him, his goalkeeper and Marc Cucurella.
Thiago Silva – 7
Impressively caged Erling Haaland in the first half alongside his defensive partner. It was subtle, unremarkable but brilliant.
Kalidou Koulibaly – 7
Similar to his partner for the first half and he was probably the least at fault for the goal.
Marc Cucurella – 5
The left-back was targeted in the first half but, to his credit, it didn’t work. He resisted a joint effort from Bernando Silva and Joao Cancelo to expose him as a weakness with them both getting substituted before the hour mark. Mahrez escaped his marking to score late on.
Denis Zakaria – 7
The Switzerland international hadn’t played a single minute of league football before the break for the World Cup but started his third game in a row here. He showed just why he is ahead of Jorginho with another solid display, completing his first 90 minutes in Chelsea colours.
Mateo Kovacic – 8
Making his first appearance since the World Cup, Kovacic was excellent in midfield though at times didn’t look fully fit. Often found himself beating a man or winning back possession in dangerous areas.
Raheem Sterling – N/A
Injured his hamstring having touched the ball just twice.
Hakim Ziyech – 6
The Morocco international made a good cameo appearance against Nottingham Forest last time out after riding the positivity of his history-making World Cup campaign. Against City, the 29-year-old worked hard but wasn’t at the level he showed for his national team. Only Zakaria and N’Golo Kante have played fewer minutes for Chelsea this season so he may need to reacquaint himself with his teammates.
Kai Havertz– 7
Perhaps lucky to lead the line after a poor showing away at Forest, Havertz repaid his manager by being a creative force once in his favoured No10 position. He then went back to No9 – the position he started in – after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was sensationally subbed off for an 18-year-old. He outperformed the former Arsenal striker in that position, too.
Christian Pulisic – 6
Looked dangerous before coming off injured after a brilliant but last-ditch tackle by John Stones. It came after a good run in behind where his shot was blocked.
Lewis Hall – 7
The homegrown 18-year-old produced some impressive front-footed defending playing out of position at left-back. Missed a late chance to equalise.
Conor Gallagher – 5
Typically energetic, the England international was overcommitted and gave away too many fouls.
Omari Hutchinson – 6
Hutchinson has been a sensation in Chelsea’s Under-21s and thoroughly earned his debut. It was a long time coming and worth a punt from the coaching staff but, in truth, he couldn’t get into the game.
Carney Chukwuemeka – 8
Unlucky not to score in the first half after smashing an effort against the post in the 34th minute. Often the most dangerous attacker on the pitch, despite having played much of his career in central midfield.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang – 4
Aubameyang came on for Sterling in the fifth minute but looked out of sync with his teammates and their attacking movements. He has just one touch in City’s box and only 14 overall.
Unused: Marcus Bettinelli, Trevoh Chalobah, Bashir Humphreys, Jorginho.