Lewis Hall gives something to smile about as Chelsea beaten again by Manchester City

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Lewis Hall made his case for a more regular role in Graham Potter’s squad as Chelsea looked ready for their six-week World Cup break in defeat to Manchester City.

It was telling that an 18-year-old with only one appearance to his name was the Blues’ best performer away in the Carabao Cup third round.

Hall should have walked out of the Etihad Stadium with a goal to his name but for two fine saves by Stefan Ortega.

The first came after he was picked out by Christian Pulisic on the counter-attack, pulling off a feint to cut inside and a shot with his weaker right foot that was well saved by the City goalkeeper.

The second came after Hakim Ziyech rescued an overhit cross with a stunning pirouette to set Hall up. His first-time right-foot shot was again saved by City’s player of the match, Ortega.

It was unfortunate that Hall was not to end the match with a goal although he can be proud of his efforts.

The dribbling power raved about inside the academy was on full display on the highest stage, winning two free-kicks after fouls by the fellow 2004-born youngster Rico Lewis.

His distribution was excellent, barring one mistake that should have led to an Ilkay Gundogan goal.

Pep Guardiola had targeted both him and the out-of-form defender Marc Cucurella with their pressing traps but it was not particularly effective.

Eventually, Manchester City’s quality did tell and so did Chelsea’s lack of confidence. The first goal was a mistake by Chelsea’s wall, particularly Kalidou Koulibaly, to not jump for Riyad Mahrez’s 53rd-minute free-kick.

A basic counter-attack led to Julian Alvarez’s second just five minutes later where Chelsea looked too tired or lacked the desire to get back and defend in time.

Chelsea threw on the big guns like Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz which meant no debut for fellow youngster Omari Hutchinson. They threatened but it was too little too late as City comfortably held on.

There is no shame in losing to Man City but tonight will only serve as a boost for Newcastle ahead of a crucial Premier League match in the battle for the top four.

Chelsea have now lost three of their last four games and seem to be desperate to rest or have a change of scenery for the World Cup. The one main positive was Hall, who showed that he is here to stay and ready to make a name for himself.