Chelsea 1 v Manchester City 1

By Paul Lagan
Last updated : 31 January 2015

Jose Mourinho decided to shun the press following this tense 1-1 draw with Manchester City but he certainly got his views and message across to his players before the meeting of these two top sides at Stamore Bridge.

Without Injured Cesc Fabregas, Mikel, Filipe Luis and the suspended Diego Costa, Mourinho set up his team not to lose and they almost won it, taking the lead through Loic Remy in the 41st minute.

But fragility at the back and an unusually sloppy effort by Thibaut Courtois let in David Silva to level the scores, and from them on it was a case of thwarting their lively opponents wherever possible and using substitutions wisely to see the game out.

Chelsea had the punishing Capital One Cup semi-final with extra time to contend on Tuesday with and it sapped the energy out of the players. Mourinho anticipated this and worked his magic.
The Londoners remain five points clear of City at the helm of the Premier League as a result

A sizzling shot by Jesus Navas stung the palms of Courtois as the visitors went for the jugular from the kick-off.

After that early flurry of activity, the game settled down into a typical cagy affair with neither side willing to commit too many men forward.
A close offside on 20 minutes foiled a quick counter-attack by Chelsea, Remy deemed the guilty party.

A slip by Branislav Ivanovic on 24 minutes just outside his own penalty area allowed City to attack and Sergio Aguero's shot was well blocked by Courtois.
Chelsea's first shot on target, on 28 minutes, was a tame one but it was created from a fine break by Remy on the left. The ball was fed to the edge of the City area, and in-running Oscar limp left-footer was easy peasy for Joe Hart.

In the space of a 30 seconds, two moves summed up the game -Chelsea had an appeal for a penalty turned down then Aguero raced down the pitch and left the ball fly, on a angle, but it inched wide of Courtois's goal.

Five minutes from the break and the home side broke the deadlock - a cross-field ball by Ivanovic was met with a first-time volley across the City six-yard box by Hazard and Remy was on hand to slam the ball into the ball of then its net from close range.

It was short-lived however as City broke on the right, a mo ute from the break, Courtois failed to take control of the ball and Aguero pinged a zipper back towards goal where David Silva, unmarked, slide the ball home to level the scores.
Neither side made a change at half-time.

But City certainly started on the front foot, a Fernando toe-poke forced Courtois to tip the ball over his crossbar after three minutes of the restart.

Ex-Chelsea legend Frank Lampard entered the fray with 13 minutes to go to a mixture of cheers and boos. He replaced Fernando.
Willian fell to the ground unchallenged and was quickly substituted by Mourinho - Didier Drogba took his place. He was followed by centre-back Gary Cahill, on for Remy, with four minutes left on the clock.

The point was enough for Mourinho.

 

Team, Chelsea, Courtois, Ivanovic, Zouma, Ramires, Oscar,Hazard, Remy,Matic, Willian,Terry, Azpilicueta
Subs, Cech, Ake, Drogba, Cahill, Christenensen, LoftusCheek, Brown

Manchester City, Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Fernando, Milner, Navas, Aguero,Silva, Clichy, Fernandinho, Demichelis,
Subs
Caballero, Zabaleta, Dzeko, Kolarov, Lampard, Jovetic, Boyata

 

 

Magnificent game don't you think, Nemnaja?

It was very good game. Very hard for us, especially in the second half. City were more fresh than us. As you know. Few days ago, we had a very difficult game against Liverpool. We p,aged 120 minutes, so we have to be happy with one point.

Jose obviously knew the team would tire and set the side up accordingly - did he explain that and so you knew what to expect?

Of course. We expected that City were going to play well. They have very good players, but I think that we were the better side In the first half.
That was not the case in the second half. They used the situation that they were more fresh than us. But they deserved one point as did we, so a draw was the right result.

But you remain five points clear, was the draw a better result for you rather than City?

Yes, I think that the most important thing after the game is that we have the five points (in hand) which is same as before. It now depends on us now and we will try to continue like that.

Chelsea more happy with a point?
Yes, City are less happy than us.

Do you like these war of attrition type of games, like Liverpool and again against City.
This is nice, that's why we o,at football and if we camp,at every game like this I will be more than happy. It's always good to play against good players. It's always good to improve and it's good for our supporters to see good games, it's good for everyone.

There are 45 points to play for, but are you looking at the end of the season. Do you think you have don the hard bit, perhaps?

I think that now is more difficult and especially as we have a lot more games coming up like the Champions League! It's going to be hard, but game by ga,e we are going to try to win everything that is possible. We will do our best.

How significant was it that you played without Costa and Cesc?
Of course we need everyone in the team. But as you saw today
ramires and Remy they had great games. I think they were the best two players today, they ran a lot, and fought for every ball. It was great to play with Ramires in the middle today. Remy scored a goal and played very well. I think thane is going to be very important in the future.

In the next couple of games in particular?
Yes.

It all very well having great games v Liverpool and City but next week you have to play Aston Villa which Chelsea doesn't have a good record against at Villa Park. Are you aware of that?

Yes, we know that Aston Villa, especially at home will be very difficult team to play against , but we have to win. We have to stay in the first position (in the league) and we will do everything we can to win. I repeat, we know that they are good, but we want to stay with a minimum five point lead against City.

 

 

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