Man City 2 Chelsea 0
Report of match 24th February 2013
Reporter Paul Lagan
Londoners slump to horrible defeat
Frank Lampard could have given Chelsea an unlikely lead at the Eithad Stadium this afternoon but he failed with a spot kick as Joe Hart redeemed himself after pulling down Demba Ba on 51 minutes.
From that City took control and scored the two goals which leave the
Londoner looking behind them rather than up.
The Londoners were outclassed in all departments and had a brilliant chance to snatch an unlikely lead six minutes into the second half.
City goalkeeper Joe Hart upended Demba Ba in the area.
Lampard should have put the spot kick away with ease, but perhaps the thought of scoring his 200th goal for his club was too much and Hart redeemed himself with a fine save, low to his right.
Excellent strikes from Yaya Toure and substitute Carlos Tevez saw off the limited resistance from the visitors.
Had Chelsea scored it would not have been deserved and City put themselves further clear of Chelsea and leaves the Londoners looking over their shoulders at Spurs who are a point behind with a game in hand and Arsenal who are hot on their heels for that coveted fourth Premier League spot.
It took less than a minute for Man City to force a save from Petr Cech when Yaya Toure drove a fine shot from the edge of the Chelsea penalty area. Cech was as alert as the Chelsea rearguard were not and snuffed out the effort.
It took seven minutes before the visitors got into the City half, Demba Ba forcing a corner off Kolo Toure.
The resultant kick from Juan Mata failed to amount to anything.
Sergio Agureo felt he was pulled down by centre-back Gary Cahill in the penalty area as
James Milner produced a byline cross on nine minutes.
Thankfully for Cahill, referee Andre Marriner, either did not see it or ignored the clear pull down.
Following sustained pressure from the home side, they thought they had scored when Matija Nastastic met a Milner corner, unchallenged, but Cech acted instinctively to parry away the fierce effort from six yards out.
Chants of 'One Di Matteo echoed from the Chelsea fans behind Cech's goal on 16 minutes.
Quite how City failed to score in the two minutes afterwards is anybodies guess as the Blues conspired to give the ball away and City failed to take full advantage.
Aguero, in particular, the main culprit.
Following this period of pressure, the Londoners got some respite as they managed to put together some good passing movements, while never threatening Joe Hart's goal.
Jack Rodwell, fresh from a booking on 29 minutes got his head onto a David Silva left byline cross but could not direct his header towards goal, instead glancing it just over Cech's crossbar from eight yards out.
Some brilliant last-gasp defending by Chelsea prevented the home side going ahead seven minutes before the whistle, Cahill headed out a powerful Pablo Zabaleta right-footer, Cech then tipped over his crossbar a zipper of a 25-yarder from Rodwell. Then
Cech gleefully grabbed the ball from Rodwell's unchallenged header from the resultant corner kick.
Neither side made a half-time substitution.
City had a good half-chance two minutes in when Silva squeezed clear on the left hand side. His byline cross was met spectacularly by Aguero who tried an overhead kick, but it squirmed just wide of Cech's right post.
Chelsea's first effort, on target, came in the 49th minute with a daisy-cutter from Hazard, from 20 yards out. Hart comfortably got his body behind the shot.
Incredibly, against the run of play, the Blues were handed a penalty when Hart bundled over Ba in the penalty area in the 51st minute.
Frank Lampard took the spot kick which would have been his 200th for the club, but Hart chose the right way, low to his right, and parried Lampard's less than convincing effort away to safety.
Hart was not booked for the incident nor send off as Marriner must have decided the ball was going away from goal and Zabaleta was covering.
City boss then replaced Rodwell for Carlo Tevez, and a minute later, on 54 minutes, Silva passed to Aguero but his shot was blocked from goal by a lunging dive by Cahill.
The Argentina striker then clipped the ball over Cech's head from another Silva through ball, but the effort dropped onto Cech's top netting.
With the pressure being piled on the Chelsea rearguard, it was inevitable that they would break through eventually.
At they did via the cultured boot of Yaya Toure, who on 62 minutes, received the ball from Silva. The Ivory Coast midfielder picked it up on the edge of the Chelsea area, to his left, took one touch and bent the ball around Chill and the outstretched doing left hand of
Cech and the ball nestled into the bottom corner of the Chelsea net.
Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez decided to make changes six minutes later replacing Lampard and Hazard for Oscar and Victor Moses.
Benitez's last throw of the die to get something from the game, came with 10 minutes to go, he took off defending midfielder Mikel and brought on Fernando Torres.
Luiz went into midfield leaving Cahill, Cole and Ivanovic to play three at the back.
The change was next to useless as it resulted in no one commanding in midfield and Chelsea capitulated without resistance.
With five minutes to go, the home side cruised through the Chelsea half unfettered. The ball was fed to Carlos Tevez, who, in the edge of the area, unleashed an unstoppable right-footed shot past hapless Cech.
City saw the game out with ultimate professionalism, leaving Chelsea to rue their missed penalty strike and thinking 'What could have been?'
Chelsea: Cech, ivanovic, Cole, Luiz, Ramires, Lampard, Mata, Mikel, Hazard, Cahill, Ba,
Subs: Turnbull, Torres, Oscar, Moses, Terry, Azpilicueta, Bertrand
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Toure, Clichy, Nastasic Garcia, Rodwell, Toure, Silva, Milner, Aguero,
Sub: Pantilimon, Lescott, Kolarov, Nasri, Sinclair, Tevez, Dzeko
Referee: Andre Marriner