Pressure Grows on John Terry and Chelsea
All attention before the game was on the Wayne Bridge-John Terry saga which saw Bridge refusing to shake Terry's hand pre-kickoff. While Bridge put in a solid performance, John Terry continued to stumble again today. Firstly some miscommunication with John Obi Mikel for the opening Manchester City goal. Later a completely mistimed tackle and a confrontation with Carlos Tevez. The former England captain has made big errors in each of his last 4 games now, which has seen Chelsea lose 3 of them. He's not the commanding and reliable captain centre back he use to be.
Chelsea dominated the first half and broke through on 41 minutes with Frank Lampard slotting home. Expecting Chelsea to run out comfortable winners at this point, Mikel's crazy header under no pressure at the half way line gave Carlos Tevez possession as he weaved in and out of Terry and Ricardo Carvalho before his scuffed effort rolled past and out-of-position Hilario.
The Portuguese stopper, in for the injured Petr Cech was also at fault with some bad positioning for City's second goal as Craig Bellamy raced onto a long ball down the left wing when Branislav Ivanovic was caught out of possession, and although appearing to dribble the ball too wide of goal he managed to get the right angle on the ball and fire City ahead.
Chelsea were crumbling and things were made worse 15 minutes from time when Juliano Belletti's clumsy challenge from behind on Gareth Barry saw him sent off and a penalty awarded against the Blues. Tevez powered it home and celebrated with Wayne Bridge, who the City team were clearly sticking up for and playing for in this one. As well as playing for themselves and the team obviously.
Michael Ballack's needless tackle from behind on Tevez saw him receive a second yellow ahead of Craig Bellamy adding a fourth before Frank Lampard converted a consolation penalty for the league leaders.
Fortunately for Chelsea, despite a couple of suspensions adding to the big losses of Michael Essien and Ashley Cole, they have two domestic games that they should find their form in ahead of their Champions League tie with Inter Milan. Inter Milan are evens to qualify from that tie, with a 2-1 lead from the first leg if that tempts anyone.
The Premier League title race is still in Chelsea's hands, albeit with only a 1 point lead over Manchester United and 3 over Arsenal. They have a few favourable fixtures until the end of the month where they need to take maximum points from as they will be expected. One thing for sure is this is going to be a very exciting run in and we can expect a few more twists in the tale!