Manchester City have won five of the past six Premier League titles and the next stop in their bid for a record fourth in succession took them to Chelsea on Sunday, November 12.
An absolutely enthralling contest in difficult weather conditions saw eight goals and the points shared thanks to a late equaliser from former City man Cole Palmer.
During Pep Guardiola’s early years at City, Mauricio Pochettino proved to be one of his most worthy adversaries in the dugout, with his Tottenham side dramatically knocking City out of the 2018/19 Champions League.
Pochettino is now at the beginning of trying to fashion something cohesive from a youthful, gifted and expensively assembled Chelsea squad amassed in a hurry under Todd Boehly’s ownership.
But it was the Roman Abramovich era at Stamford Bridge that propelled Chelsea to the forefront of the English game, while City’s own mega-rich owners have bankrolled an imperial period.
Here, the Sporting News looks at a rivalry that stretches back decades but has come more sharply into focus over recent years.
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Chelsea have the edge in the historical head-to-head, although Man City have closed that up with a dominant run over recent domestic fixtures.
The Londoners’ most recent win came in the most significant of the combined 175 meetings with City, when Kai Havertz scored the only goal in the 2021 Champions League final.
That wasn’t the first time the Blues had halted a much-fancied City on the European stage. Holders City were beaten 2-1 on aggregate in the semifinals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970/71.
Before November 12, the latest of the teams’ 41 draws ended with City lifting silverware. A goalless stalemate in the 2019 Carabao Cup final was decided on penalties, with current Chelsea man Raheem Sterling dispatching the decisive spot-kick into the top corner.
Since suffering heartbreak in Porto, City won all six of the subsequent meetings between the sides without conceding a goal, including four wins across three competitions last season. That ended with the gripping encounter in November 2023.
Chelsea are the only club other than City to have won multiple Premier League titles since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United in 2013.
Jose Mourinho lifted his third Premier League in his second stint at Chelsea when the Blues dethroned Manuel Pellegrini’s City in 2014/15. Two years later, despite Guardiola arriving in English football to much fanfare, another newcomer took the crown.
Both of Chelsea’s Premier League wins over City en route to glory under Antonio Conte were tempestuous affairs. Guardiola’s side finished a 3-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium with nine men after Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero were sent off, while there was a post-match fracas in the Stamford Bridge tunnel after a 2-1 Chelsea success.
An era-defining rivalry appeared to be simmering, but City were utterly dominant as they claimed the title with a record 100-point haul next time around and Conte departed Stamford Bridge amid the familiar spectacle of strained relations with his bosses.
Chelsea’s chaotic trajectory since then means the clubs have not spent too much time in one another’s orbit. The exception was the early months of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea reign, where he appeared to have Guardiola’s number.
The 2021 Champions League final was the third of three victories against City across three competitions over the course of six weeks. Guardiola responded authoritatively, with each 1-0 win in the 2021/22 season far more emphatic than the scorelines suggested.
That looked like an intriguing joust with plenty of road left to run until Tuchel was heavily backed in the transfer market and then fired by Boehly. From that point, the two clubs could hardly have experienced more contrasting 2022/23 campaigns: City won a historic treble, and Chelsea endured arguably their worst season in living memory.