City unlucky not to win after outplaying title rivals
FA Premier League
Saturday 31 January 2015, 17.30 KO
City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany (c), Demichelis, Clichy, Fernando (Lampard 77), Fernandinho, Milner, Navas, Silva (Jovetic 90), Aguero (Dzeko 84)
Unused: Caballero, Boyata, Zabaleta, Kolarov
Goals: Silva (45)
Booked: Silva, Fernando
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the match: Fernandinho
Manchester City travelled to Stamford Bridge on Saturday night knowing that a win would put the pressure right back on Mourinho's men. A loss for Manuel Pellegrini's side was almost unthinkable, with the league leaders unlikely to relinquish another eight point lead this season.
Pellegrini kept faith with the out of form Vincent Kompany, with the only change in defence from the Arsenal game being Bacary Sagna, who took the place of Pablo Zabaleta. The Argentina international has struggled against Hazard in previous meetings, and the defensive capabilities of Sagna were needed more in this particular fixture.
Fernando and Fernandinho were the axis in midfield, and excelled in the opening stages, shackling Matic, Ramires and Oscar, and denying them room to operate in. James Milner and Jesus Navas also impressed, pressing Ivanovich and Azpilicueta respectively and providing defensive cover when required. City were in control from the start, and should have took the lead when Aguero found himself through from Vincent Kompany's pass, only to drag his shot wide.
Chelsea made City rue that missed opportunity, and opened the scoring against the run of play. Loic Remy, in for the suspended Diego Costa, tapped in Hazard's excellent cross after Branislav Ivanovic's clever pass. It was frustrating for City, especially after their first half dominance, but Pellegrini's side got their deserved equaliser almost immediately, with David Silva diverting Sergio Aguero's shot into the bottom corner.
The second half saw City continue to assert their dominance, but were unable to get the crucial second goal. Silva, for all his endeavour, struggled to find the space to weave his magic. Chelsea themselves were stifled, and failed to muster a single shot in the second half. Manuel Pellegrini was correct in his assertion that his side were the more adventurous, but just lacked the necessary guile and finesse to win the game.
A draw however, is never a bad result at Stamford Bridge, and with the likes of Wilfried Bony, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri and Eliaquim Mangala to return, Manuel Pellegrini will be more than optimistic about his sides chances of retaining the title.