Here comes the day we all have been eagerly waiting for! A face-off with the current Champions at Stamford Bridge with the possibility of going 8 points clear at the top! That account for some excitement, right?
It was the 23rd game of this Premier League season when Manuel Pellegrini’s men made a short trip to the Bridge without their talisman Yaya Toure in a hope to decrease the lead to 2 points.
Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, had to force a couple of changes with Ramires and Remy coming in for injured Fabregas and suspended Costa. With Schurrle and Salah on the way to their new club, we also got to see the likes of RLC, Brown, Ake and Christensen on the bench. Exciting times for the Academy players!
So let’s get on with the initial reaction now to see how the game panned out for the Blues:
– Chelsea started the game with their usual high-pressing tactics as our front three of Oscar, Willian and Remy combined to press the Citizens high up the pitch. It wasn’t a high-flying start like some expected as in the absence of their key players both the teams looked cautious in the middle. There wasn’t much to write about in the first 15 minutes as none of the teams created a clear goal-scoring chance. Apart from a couple of corners on the either side it all looked even at the Bridge.
– Watching the opening quarters of this fixture; “Not to lose” seemed to be the motto of both the teams for obvious reasons as both the teams struggled for possession although, whenever either Blues did enjoy a decent spell, nothing major came out of it. Both teams reverted to a low block whenever the opposition threatened to attack as counter-attack seemed to be the way to go tonight!
– Kurt Zouma looked quite impressive in the first half an hour for the Blues as the Frenchman made a couple of vital tackles against Sergio Aguero whenever the Argentine looked to threaten upfront. Good stuff from the big man! Oscar did have a chance to get on the score sheet at the half an hour mark after some good stuff from Remy on the left saw Hazard dummy a ball to Oscar but the Brazilian’s resulting shot was easily dealt with by Joe Hart.
– Couple of minutes later, Aguero almost managed to break the deadlock for the visitors after he was released up front from a long ball with just Courtois to beat, but the Argentine’s shot was weak and Off target to trouble the Belgian at the goal post.
– With none of the team looking likely to score it was the home side who drew first blood in the 41st minute when Loic Remy tapped from close range after a brilliant run from Ivanovic found Hazard through a lovely ball from the flanks and the Belgian’s first time pass to Remy was good enough to send us 1-0 up. Good stuff from Chelsea.
– The lead didn’t last long though as Sergio Aguero who threatened to score all night long was in the center of attention once more. It all started when a cross from Navas had to be cleared off by Courtois, but the Belgian’s clearance went as far as Aguero, whose resulting shot was easily tapped in by Silva. What a response from the visitors! Chelsea 1-1 Man City. Game on it is!
– The first half ended with both the teams tied at 1-1. It was a slow start to the game and as it looked like we might be in for a stalemate, both the teams managed to score in the final few minutes to make it interesting. It was an even battle all night long and both teams deserved to get on the score sheet. Let’s get on with the second half now to see what it has in store for us:
– The second half started with no changes from either manager as Chelsea looked to extend the gap with an emphatic win while City looked to make the league battle even more interesting with a win at our fortress.
– The game started with the same intensity after the break as it did in the first half with both the teams struggling for possession but no resulting clear cut chances falling to either side. The visitors edged the Blues in terms of chances created as Mourinho’s men were unable to break down a tough and resilient City’s defense. Citizens, on the other side, did cause us few problems upfront, but no harm was done as far as the score sheet was concerned.
– There was an obvious drop in energy from the Blues as our players battled fatigued after playing 120 minutes against Liverpool in the midweek. The visitors, sensing this, pushed us back in our own half with some dominant play while they bossed around the midfield. Chelsea, meanwhile, playing a low block, looked to hold on while catching the visitors on set-pieces and counter attacks.
– Frank Lampard was eventually subbed on in the 76th minute in favor of Fernando and as expected, the Stamford Bridge legend got a heroic welcome from the Chelsea crowd. The home supporters clapped and sang his name which was excellent to watch as a Blues’ fan. It just felt awkward to see him in the light Blue though!
– There was some bad news for Chelsea as Willian had to be taken off due to what looked like a muscular injury at the 80th-minute mark. The Brazilian ran his heart out for the second game in a week time and was replaced by Didier Drogba who slotted in the Striker spot as Remy moved to the Right Wing.
– Jose Mourinho replaced Loic Remy with Gary Cahill in the 87th minute as the manager went into the defensive mode realizing a 5-point lead was good enough going into the season. Manchester City did continue to dominate the game in our own half as the visitors constantly searched for a winner but were unable to get past men in the dark Blue.
– The score sheet read 1-1 as the referee blew his final whistle of the match. The Blues looked dead tired in the second half but in the end we did manage to hold on to our 5 points lead with a deserved draw at Stamford Bridge. Although, a win might have probably won us the league, but this draw does more good for the home side than Manuel Pellegrini’s men. Still top of the league and 5 points clear of City. KTBFFH folks!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt