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Manchester City: John Stones starred vs Chelsea

Manchester City closed the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal as they earned an impressive 1-0 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening.

Pep Guardiola’s side started in the same fashion as they finished their disappointing 1-1 draw with Everton last time out and were perhaps fortunate not to go in behind at half time, as Carney Chukwuemeka’s strike came off the post.

However, Guardiola rang the changes in the second period and two of his substitutes worked together to great effect for the only goal of the game, as Riyad Mahrez tapped in Jack Grealish’s cross shortly after the hour mark.

City dropped deep and invited Chelsea’s pressure but Ederson wasn’t really tested and the Citizens would leave Stamford Bridge with a valuable three points.

Besides Mahrez, one man who was vital to the victory was centre-back John Stones, as he helped keep the scores level in the first half when he denied Christian Pulisic with a last-gasp tackle.

As per Sofascore, the England international would earn an impressive 7.6/10 rating for his performance against Graham Potter’s side, which ranked him as the best player to feature in the game from both sides.

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Stones would contribute four clearances, two tackles, one block and one interception in the 90 minutes, which is even more impressive when you consider he has averaged just 1.5 clearances, one tackle, 0.3 blocks and 0.4 interceptions in the top flight so far this campaign.

The former Everton man is renowned for his ability on the ball but to have 102 touches and only lose possession on four occasions, completing 85/87 passes, represents a remarkable display by the defender, with his pass accuracy rate of 98% again an increase on his 94.6% average in the top flight.

When City were having a rough spell in the first half, they relied upon Stones at the back, with Sky Sports commentator Jamie Carragher awarding him the man of the match award and remarking that he “kept them in the game,” during the broadcaster’s coverage of the game.

Guardiola has dubbed the 28-year-old “exceptional” in the past and he lived up to that praise once again on Thursday, with his performance no doubt a huge part in City earning a massive three points in west London.