Highlights: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City; Chelsea hold off City to maintain 5-point lead
Chelsea entertained Manchester City in a top of the table clash in the Premier League. The match was billed as the title decider, but the race still looks wide open after Chelsea defended out of their skins to draw against City.
Chelsea came to this match after playing 120 minutes against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup, while Manchester City had a week’s rest before this crucial tie. The Blues led the Citizens by 5 points in the table.
City’s only absentees were Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony, who were playing for their respective countries in the African Cup of Nations. With Cesc Fabregas injured and Diego Costa suspended for his stamp on Emre Can in the semi-final of the league cup, Jose Mourinho, who didn’t give any pre-match press conference, was forced to play Loic Remy and Ramires.
The visitors started better as they had a few shots at the start of the match, but failed to score. While, the home side were looking to absorb all the pressure and hit the Champions on the counter.
Just when it looked like the first half would close out without any goals, Remy tapped the ball in the back of the net after a fantastic pass by Branislav Ivanovic was put into the Frenchman’s path by Eden Hazard. The goal came against the run of play, but Mourinho and his team did not care.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men, even if they were, did not look shaken with the goal and hit back straight after through David Silva. Jesus Navas’ cross was flapped away by Thibaut Courtois straight to Sergio Aguero, who hit a shot to catch the Belgian off position. The Argentine’s shot was deflected slightly by Silva to level the score within four minutes and right before the referee blew the half-time whistle.
The second half was one-way attack as Chelsea looked to take a point off the game while City tried to close the gap on the leaders. To take all 3 points, Pellegrini brought on former Chelsea star Frank Lampard, who was greeted with mixed reactions from the home fans, for Fernando. Lampard had scored a late goal when the two teams met earlier in the season.
This time, however, Lampard could not put a dagger into the Chelsea fans’ hearts as Mourinho responded by changing to a back 5 by introducing Gary Cahill. The match petered out to a close with the scoreline staying the same as it was at the end of the first half. Chelsea did not have a single shot after Remy’s opener.
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City: Loic Remy (42’)
Against the run of play, Chelsea took the lead at Stamford Bridge. Ivanovic’s left-footed pass was floated behind City’s defence and a sliding Hazard put the ball across the face of the goal for Remy to put the ball in the back of the net.
Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City: David Silva (45’)
Courtois made a mistake in handling Navas’ cross and was left stranded as the ball reached Aguero. The Argentine hit a powerful shot with his weak foot to catch the Belgian off-guard and Silva slid in to apply the slightest of touches to put the score level.