Brilliant Blues give title pretenders a whipping

An excellent game before a soaked crowd at a packed Eastlands this evening ended City's way, Carlos Tevez scoring the winner from a free-kick eleven minutes into the second half to end a run of seven successive league draws and put a dent in Chelsea's title ambitions. An early own goal from Emmanuel Adebayor had put the Stamford Bridge side ahead, but going behind only seemed to inspire the Blues, the Togolese forward grabbing a dubious equaliser.

As expected Stevie Ireland and Craig Bellamy both missed out with knee injuries, with enforcer Nigel de Jong and fit-again record-signing Robinho starting. Chelsea also made two changes from their last league game, with Michael Ballack and Deco replacing Jon-Obi Mikel and Joe Cole in midfield.

We certainly had the better of the very early stages; firstly Wright-Phillips collected in the right-back position and found Carlos Tevez with a long pass, the Argentinian took John Terry on before dinking in a cross which evaded all. Not long afterwards Robinho was fouled to the left of the area, the resultant free-kick was laid off to Nigel de Jong whose shot trickled wide of the far post.

Chelsea then began to insert their authority and had several chances. Firstly, a Bridge slip let Drogba in only for Toure to make a great last-ditch challenge on Lampard. Then the England midfielder orchestrated a sweeping move which ended up at Drogba's feet after a Deco dummy, Given making a great save. It felt like a goal was coming.

In the 8th minute they were ahead; a dubiously awarded corner was headed away to the far side by Adebayor, the ball was centred again and Lampard forced a great low save from Given, the ball wormed its way to Anelka whose shot was again saved only for it to bounce of Adebayor's back and trickle over the line. A terrible goal to concede, but the linesman had made the wrong call.

From then until half-time City played the better stuff, though the opposition still looked very dangerous on the counter. Micah Richards headed a Barry corner over, then Toure ran through the Chelsea midfield and got a shot away, and Adebayor shot wide after Barry had taken advantage of a Carvalho slip down our left. SWP tested Cech at his near-post, and another Richards header was cleared by Carvalho after Cech had flapped at a cross.

In the 36th minute we got level. A corner saw Cech punch away, the ball ran to Wright-Phillips whose attempt looked to be hitting the target, Micah Richards couldn't get out of the way and handled as his arms come up to protect his face, Adebayor the lucky recipient, poking towards goal only for Terry to get half away, second time lucky for the £25m recruit from Arsenal, and fully deserved. Didier Drogba went close with a free-kick before half-time.

After all the hard work towards the end of the first half we started the second quite sloppily, plenty of passes were going astray in part due to the slippery surface. The first chance arrived eight minutes in, Tevez finding SWP who got the better of Cole and returned the pass only for the shot to be blocked. Our next move saw Ricardo Carvalho kick Tevez in the back and concede a free-kick. Disorganised at the back, and with a wall made up of several City players, the former Boca man had only to aim at his team-mates who spread, seeing his effort flummox Cech.

Around the hour Robinho was involved at both ends, nearly giving the ball away in his own area before playing a part in a nice one-two with Adebayor, the Brazilian having an effort saved after cutting in from the left. Didier Drogba then evaded Kolo Toure at the far post following a Lampard free-kick, but headed wide. Barry picked up a cheap booking for a slide-tackle on Deco before an Ashley Cole crack from distance made Richards block.

The u21 man, who had played extremely well until that point, seemed to tweak a knee in that exchange and was replaced by Nedum Onuoha in the 68th minute. Sub Belletti didn't endear himself to the home crowd shortly after coming on with a rash challenge on left-back Bridge, Vincent Kompany replacing him with Barry moving back into a position he'd played during his early career at Villa.

In the last quarter of an hour especially Chelsea completely lost their discipline, several players booked and a couple lucky to remain on the pitch, not least Belletti who appeared unnecessarily wound up from his introduction. In the 82nd minute, Deco, ineffective all afternoon, found Drogba with a high ball over the back four, a great first touch took him past sub Onuoha, who brought the whingey muppet down; a clear penalty.

England midfielder and set-piece expert Frank Lampard stepped up, and with such a record from the spot it seemed inevitable he'd score and put Chelsea in a commanding position. Given, however, had done his homework, and guessed the right way, clearing with a combination of hands and knees. The crowd went wild, blue shirts embraced, Chelsea's body language said they were a beaten team.

Before the game was out Cole and Deco would also incur the wrath of the referee as the potential champions completely lost the plot. Drogba poked a shot wide after a nice move involving Lampard and Essien, and well into injury time Tevez was away twice but could only test Cech with a low snap-shot first time, and pick out the wrong ball second. To the crowd's approval Webb blew his whistle, a great win!

No words i could say could give justice to the performance by the lads today, they all played their part, every single one. Beating Chelsea was simply something i couldn't imagine happening, but we were the better side over ninety minutes and in every department. The defence was well organised again, de Jong and Barry ran the midfield and the exuberance of Tevez and SWP was undoubted.

Without Ireland there's always a chance we'll luck blunt going forwards, but it simply wasn't the case today. No-one played poorly; Micah had his best game in months, Robinho put in a real team performance, Given was in top form, there can be no complaints whatsoever, and it's nice to put this draw obsession to bed. We can play, and we can beat anyone. Over the moon!

Given, Richards (Onuoha '69), Bridge (Kompany '76), Toure, Lescott, de Jong, Wright-Phillips, Barry, Tevez, Adebayor, Robinho (Zabaleta '89)


  1. What a game. de Jong was outstanding and Barry and Richards had their best games in blue for a while. Finally, well done to the fans. The atmosphere was electric and the sound was deafening, glad Lampard bottled it.

  2. De Jong's best performance in a City shirt, I think. Inspiring stuff.