Chelsea run out deserved winners at The Etihad
FA Premier League
Monday 3 February 2014, 20.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Kolarov, Navas, Demichelis, Toure, Silva, Dzeko, Negredo (Jovetic 57)
Unused: Pantilimon, Boyata, Clichy, Milner, Rodwell, Lopes
Booked: Demichelis, Kolarov, Nastasic
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the Match: Martin Demichelis
City lost their first home match of the season and ended their brief stay on top spot in the process. In truth, the Blues got exactly what they deserved from the game, with too many of the team failing to show up and rise to the occasion.
The hosts actually started the brighter, with some early pressure on the Chelsea goal. Negredo had the chance to shoot, but his strike cleared Cech’s crossbar.
It soon swung in the visitors’ favour, as Kompany and Nastasic got in each other’s way as the Belgian was chasing back towards his own goal – he just got it behind for a corner.
City saw a lot of the ball but were able to do little with it. Toure couldn’t connect to a Kolarov volley through the box, while Silva scuffed wide from six yards.
A four-on-one breakaway saw Nastasic outnumbered, but the young Serbian held up play to force the attack wide. Hart was off his line sharply to deny Ramires, and Willian’s improvised overhead kick was well over.
Just after the half hour, Chelsea’s pressure paid off. A ball into the box was half cleared by the hosts, as Kompany got down well to make a block. Toure didn’t get out to close Ivanovic down quickly enough for the rebound and the full back’s strike came through a crowded box and beat Hart into the bottom corner.
City were lacklustre going into the break, as Chelsea pressed high and the Blues gave possession away cheaply, culminating in Eto’o smashing a shot into the bar. And those hoping for a change in performance after half time would have been sorely disappointed, as the hosts continued to struggle.
Matic came close to doubling the away side’s lead from long range, as his strike beat Hart but crashed into the post. Toure’s scuffed effort at the other end bobbled wide, as the best the Blues could offer.
With 20 minutes to play, City’s goal was leading a charmed life. This time Cahill won a cross to head towards the corner, but, with Hart beaten, the England defender saw his effort bounce off the post and away.
Silva had left his shooting boots at home, as he scuffed an effort wide from eight yards, after he curled a free kick towards the top corner – but it was touched over by Cech. Dzeko was similarly suffering, skewing a shot through the area.
Chelsea settled for their single goal lead – and City did little to change it, with Jovetic’s shot in stoppage time the best they could muster. Cech made a meal of it, pushing it over for a corner, but it was straight at him.
Too many didn’t play well enough for the home side to win, and Chelsea were deserved winners.