Blues and Citizens drawn Together
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea started the game with a five points advantage over Manchester City at the top of the table as the title contenders collided at Stamford Bridge, end of January which marked the return of Chelsea all time leading scorer, Frank Lampard, as the Citizens midfielder was on the bench at a stadium which had been his home for thirteen years. With the Blues missing the suspended, Diego Costa, their striker’s role was filled by Loic Remy. In the opening fifteen seconds, Thibaut Courtois was forced to punch in the air, a strike by Jesus Navas, after a quick burst through by the Citizens, as James Milner, fed the ball across. Then on seven minutes, Navas turned provider as Fernandinho cut inside the right half of the area, before powering a shot past the far post. Midway through the first half, after Branislav Ivanovic lost his footing, Milner capitalised on the mistake by threading a pass through to Sergio Aguero, whose instinctive shot on goal was kept out by a double handed save from Courtois. After City captain, Vincent Kompany, lost the ball out to Remy, the Blues threatened in just under the half hour mark, when from Eden Hazard’s neat touch, Oscar drove the ball towards Joe Hart, who remained unruffled. Following a ball to hand by Martin Demichelis from a Ramires strike in the area, a penalty appeal was turned away and this swiftly followed with Kompany sending a long ball over from his own half and as Aguero charged into the right side of the box, he drilled a shot across the face of goal, to let the Blues off the hook. Against the run of play Chelsea went ahead on forty one minutes, as Ivanovic floated the ball over to Hazard on the far left, who from the side line, delivered a low volley, which was met first time by Remy, who coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net. But City found a way back into the game, just before the break, when Bacary Sagna put the ball through to Navas, whose delivery caught Courtois flapping and as Aguero drilled the ball in, David Silva stuck out a foot to divert the ball into the right side of the goal. On fifty four minutes, Sagna’s header could only find the outside netting of the near post from a well placed corner by Milner. But within a minute, the Citizens pressed again, as Navas floated a ball over from the right and Fernandinho’s downward header forced Courtois to palm the ball over the upright. City kept up the pressure as Sagna set Navas free on the right flank, and his ball over, was headed on top of the outside roof of the goal by Milner in the sixty fourth minute. Four minutes later, when Ramires fell from a challenge by Milner, from the loose ball, Fernandinho hit a low strike which Courtois had covered. With fifteen minutes of normal time remaining, Lampard returned against his former Blues to replace Fernando. Then as Willian pulled up injured, the Blues brought on Didier Drogba, five minutes later, before the Citizens took off Aguero for Edin Dzeko, while near the end Gary Cahill replaced Remy as the Blues settled for a point. Although, City could have snatched the game in the eighty seventh minute, when Silva found space for Milner, whose shot flashed past the far post. The Citizens gave Stevan Jovetic a brief appearance as Silva was taken off and before the final whistle, the Blues took off Oscar as Ruben Loftus-Cheek was drafted in. But for the second time in the season, Chelsea and Manchester City played out a 1-1 draw.