Chelsea and Manchester City canceled each other for the second time this season after facing off at the Stamford Bridge. Loic Remy gave the home side the lead, but David Silva equalized for Manchester City before the end of the first half. The second half saw City dominate the game but fall short as Chelsea put in a good defensive display to hold the Champions.
Here are five talking points from the game.
Cesc Fabregas is an integral part of the Chelsea line up
For the majority of the game, Chelsea were pinned down in their own half. While part of it was due to the relentless pressure by Manchester City, the other reason was the absence of Cesc Fabregas. In Loic Remy, they possess an ideal replacement for Diego Costa who can stretch the opposition defense with his pace and movement, but the Blues lacked a player who can pick out Remy on the break. Oscar had a quiet game considering his high standards and Fabregas’ replacement in the midfield, Ramires, isn’t know for his passing.
The Spaniard has a pass completion rate of 87% and has created more than three chances every game, something that Chelsea missed yesterday.
Vincent Kompany’s form is worrying for Manchester City
Manchester City had won just twice in their last five matches before facing Chelsea. City’s captain Vincent Kompany missed four of those games but returned to action in the defeat against Arsenal where he wasn’t convincing. Against Chelsea, he did not look in his elements either. The Belgian was robbed of the ball in the 30th minute by Eden Hazard who set up Oscar only for his shot to be a tame effort in the end.
Chelsea’s goal came in the 41st minute and Kompany was slow in reacting. A diagonal ball played by Branislav Ivanovic found Hazard who’s first-time square ball found Remy inside the box. Kompany could have cut it out had he been more aware of Hazard on the left-hand side. I City are to keep winning games, they’ll need Kompany back at his best.
Kurt Zouma looks the real deal
It was somewhat surprising to see Gary Cahill being dropped against Manchester City, but his replacement Kurt Zouma vindicated the decision taken by his manager. The 20-year old Frenchman had completed just one game in the Barclays Premier League, so it was a big call drafting him into the first team against a side like Manchester City who boast good attacking talent. Zouma however, went about his game with minimal fuss. Sergio Aguero did give him a few scares, but he did well to force the Argentine wide on a couple of occasions. The Frenchman’s physique and pace was key in keeping David Silva and Aguero in check.
Loic Remy is a more than capable player for the blues in Costa’s absence
The days leading up to the game were tense as a three-game ban to Chelsea’s star striker Diego Costa took the shine of their entry into the Capital One Cup final. Any doubts on whether the Londoners would miss Costa was put aside after Loic Remy’s goal in the 41st minute. The 28-year old has scored five times for Chelsea this season and will be a key player in the coming two games where he is expected to lead the line again. Remy’s pace stretched the City defense in the 1st half and he could have been dangerous had he been found more often in the second half. Fabregas’ presence in the coming games will get the most out of Remy as the Frenchman relies on good passes behind him to make those darting runs behind the defense.
Draw keeps City in the race, but Chelsea still the favorites
The team that wanted to win it more was definitely Manuel Pellegrini’s men judging by the way the second half panned out.With 15 matches to go, a five-point gap at the top isn’t much. Chelsea have already let City close them once this season, so Mourinho’s men will be keen on not doing the same again. With both the games ending in draws, in the end it comes to how well the two sides play against the rest of the teams. City have a tougher run compared to Chelsea in the next five game which could put them under pressure towards the end of the season if they drop points now. However, they will be boosted by the return of Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony as the duo will return this month.