The Chelsea v Manchester City encounter was expected to be one of the most entertaining games of the Premier League this season. Considering the two clubs are the front runners to be crowned the champions at the end of the season, the build-up to the game was immense. However, despite a great first half, the match failed to live up to the billing in the latter part of the 90 minutes. The game ended in a draw with both teams leaving the pitch with a point a piece.
Here are three things we learnt from Saturday’s encounter.
James Milner is no run-of-the-mill stuff
James Milner is perceived to one of those hard-working, industrious players who can be on their feet the entire game doing all the donkey work. However, against Chelsea, Milner showed us that his game has much more to offer, as he galloped down the wing several times with surprisingly bursting pace and also tracked back at times to keep Ivanovic under control.
James Milner’s recent performances have helped justify the £28 million Manchester City paid Aston Villa to acquire his services. The Englishman is as versatile a player as they come and as his contract with City comes close to an end at the end of the season, City must act swiftly in order to keep hold of the player.
Chelsea lacked the ‘Cesc factor’
Chelsea definitely were not at their best and one of the main reasons for league leaders below par performance undoubtedly was the absence of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas. The two Spaniards have arguably been Mourinho’s best players so far this season and their absence proved to be a huge loss for Chelsea in one of their most important games of the season.
Though Costa’s void was ably filled by Loic Remy, it was the brilliance of Fabregas that Chelsea missed the most. With Fabregas missing, Matic and Ramires were hardly able to aid Chelsea’s attackers and struggled in breaking down the City defence. Chelsea also looked weak at set piece deliveries without the service of Fabregas.
Manchester City might just have let the title go
Playing a Chelsea team that is hardly rotated, without their two most impactful players and coming into the game after playing 120 minutes in the middle of the week, Manchester City were handed a golden opportunity to get themselves back in the title race. But Pellegrini’s men failed to make use of this opportunity and allowed Chelsea to keep their 5-point advantage at the top.
With more than a quarter of the season still to go, Manchester City still have a very realistic chance of defending the title. However, with the kind of squad Chelsea have and the form they have been showing the entire season, it seems difficult for Manchester City to end up maintaining their status as Premier League champions.