LONDON — Kevin De Bruyne capped a dominant performance from Manchester City with a brilliant long-range goal in a 1-0 victory at Chelsea in the English Premier League on Saturday.
The midfielder exchanged passes with Gabriel Jesus before shooting left-footed from just outside the area in the 67th minute, for a goal that earned unbeaten City a sixth win from seven games and kept the team in first place on goal difference from Manchester United.
The goal would have been extra sweet for De Bruyne, who was sold by Chelsea in January 2014 after 18 months at Stamford Bridge. He made just nine appearances and never felt he was given a real chance before asking to be sold for the sake of his career.
Chelsea, which lost star striker Alvaro Morata to an apparent left hamstring injury in the 35th, was overwhelmed by the visitors’ passing and movement in what will be regarded as a signature win in City’s toughest game of the season.
“It sends out a big message,” City left back Fabian Delph said. “We needed to come out on top. There’s a togetherness in the team and you could see that on the pitch.”
City coach Pep Guardiola said the way the team played was as important as the result, with City having almost 70 percent possession in both halves and creating the best of the chances.
“They could not play and had to do long balls,” Guardiola said.
Without lone striker Morata, who was replaced by a midfielder in Willian, Chelsea had no outlet up front and City easily picked off possession before attacking in waves.
“It’s very difficult to play this type of game,” Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said.
Gabriel Jesus had a volley cleared off the line by Antonio Rudiger after De Bruyne’s goal.
It was Chelsea’s first loss in the league since its opening-day home defeat to Burnley. Chelsea is six points beind the Manchester clubs.