Five talking points - Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
Stamford Bridge, for a change had several chants to sing out loud for this fixture thanks to their new manager Rafael Benitez. Although the manager would’ve expected the fans to show their displeasure, even he couldn’t have seen it spreading to such an extent. Chelsea fans rained all kinds of abuses for the Spaniard, adding to the several banners calling for his immediate sacking – all in front of a watching owner who for now, could do nothing to improve the situation. As Benitez vows to earn the support of the fans, this could well depend on the football his side plays in the coming few weeks.
The Chelsea side were always expected to be affected by the atmosphere, but it was surprising how Roberto Mancini and his lads failed to dominate the show. The likes of David Silva and Yaya Toure never turned up with the right goods for the forwards, which has been the story of this season for Man City. The away side surrenders their lead within a week to their cross-town rivals which is a shame, as City again, looks a shadow of the side that won the league title last season.
With all the fuss surrounding the two Blue Spaniards – one on the field and another off it – it was still one of those days where the whole team failed to produce anything significant to win a game. Although, it was visible that the new Blues manager was playing cautious as a Chelsea clean sheet always looked as his priority, the side had the creative ammo to stake a claim on all three points. Instead, the creative trinity looked tired right from their first attempt to move the ball forward, while Torres’ had another run failing to make any kind of impact on the game.
Probably Benitez expected City to come into the game with their scoring boots on, as the Spaniard looked to have made all the arrangements to combat the threat posed by the lethal City strikers. The makeshift back line with Ivanovic plating alongside an enigmatic David Luiz and Azpiliceuta occupying the right-back role looked liked a move that should’ve have been made before hand by Di Matteo. Without the ball, the whole Chelsea unit retreated to close gaps created by the formation banks, as for the first time in the season every individual in the Blue shirt looked aware of their marking duties. The full backs also looked pretty assure with their defensive duties as City found it increasingly difficult to devise consistent opportunities from open-play.
Although Mancini has made it clear that Joleon Lescott is a part of his plan, it has been pretty clear that the Italian has been favouring his new recruit from Serbia in this season. Matija Nastasic, who has been dubbed as the new Vidic has had his share of difficulties is coping with the early game is finally finding his feet alongside Kompany at the heart of the City defence. The duo gave the Chelsea little time on the ball and managed to astutely limit any threat from posed by the home side. If we see more of same from City’s defensive line and Mancini finds solace in a four-man backline, Lescott may well have to spend a lot more time on the City bench.