Saturday, December 05, 2009

City 2 Chelsea 1

What a game of football that was.

A good atmosphere. Two very good sides pitted against each other. Good goalkeeping. Strong defensive play. Wonderful, high quality attacking football. Some chippy moments. Players hobbling off. And a penalty miss.

Not to mention a very important three points in the context of other results today that breaks the run of seven consecutive league draws.

The side (and Mark Hughes) have come in for plenty of critcism during the run of seven draws for displaying a hesitancy that sides with ambition should not be showing. Both on Wednesday and today though there was none of that. After conceding an unfortunate opening goal, the side picked themselves up and went back at Chelsea. Then, after equalising before half-time they didn't retreat back, happy with a point. They constantly attacked and pressed to a man, allowing Chelsea no time to settle and got just rewards.

Interestingly, whilst the defence has been bashed in the press Hughes constantly focused on the importance of defending as a team. Today, right through to the final minutes of injury time the front line were flying into tackles and pressuring the Chelsea defence.

I wrote in the preview of the game that the key for us to beat Chelsea was with the pace in the side. Against Arsenal we showed flashes of that but today displayed just what quality in attack there is in the side. The workrate of Tevez and Adebayor was aligned with their undoubted quality, and this was augmented perfectly by the dangerous and roving runs of both Wright-Phillips and Robinho. Some of the football played between this quartet was of the highest quality, and stretching as good a defence as Chelsea have is no easy task.

Whilst Stephen Ireland missed out through injury, in terms of balance of the side he was not missed. Nigel de Jong came back into the line up and the pairing of him and Gareth Barry was tenacious, breaking up Chelsea attacks and launching our own offensives.

Individually and as a unit, this was the defences finest hour. Micah Richards may have been fortunate to regain his place in the side but he - injury now permitting - has grasped the position back. Toure and Lescott were strong against Drogba whilst Bridge was committed and attacking in equal measure.

Shay Given again proved his quality too. Not called on to deal with a whole lot, but made a superb triple save prior to Chelsea's goal and then an excellent save from Lampard's penalty to safeguard the three points.

We have now played each of the top four sides once this season. We have posted two wins, a draw and a defeat. We have the quality in the side to challenge for those places, but having the mentality is a different matter.

I did suggest after last weekend that Arsenal and Chelsea could be two ideal games for us in that the side would have something to prove. Having done that, the mentality now needs to be go on a run and accumulate points on a consistent basis no matter the opposition.

The Reebok stadium next week would be a good place to start.

vote it up!

1 comment:

newsoftheblues said...

Whilst Stephen Ireland missed out through injury, in terms of balance of the side he was not missed
key point, we looked a better side without him.

I was impressed with robinho discipline, he helpd his position at the end, didnt bomb forward, his passign was brilliant and he wasnt too falmboyant, a real team effort from the lad, he wont hit the headlines for it, but i was impressed.

I have stressed the point previously, City would raise their games for the arsenals and chelsea, but the response we want to see is if we cant do it at bolton, or sunderland or wigan......
If we beat the likes of fulham, hull, a loss against chelsea would of been forgiven. We go about things still with the old small club mantality!