REACTION: Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea: Lampard strikes to deny Chelsea!
Chelsea took a point from the Etihad this afternoon as a late strike from Frank Lampard (of all...
Chelsea took a point from the Etihad this afternoon as a late strike from Frank Lampard (of all people!) levelled the scores after Andre Schurrle had given Chelsea the lead. On the whole, a draw is the right result.
It was always going to be a tight, tense game with the stakes being so high, despite it being this early in the season. Both teams are considered the title favourites with Betfair and this was always going to be a tough game. If you were given a point beforehand, you would have taken it back to the Bridge if you are honest but I can't help but feel as though we threw it away.
At 1-0 with around twenty or so minutes to go and with City down to ten men after Zabaletta had been sent off for two bookable offences (despite the second yellow on Costa being debatable but who cares), Chelsea needed to maintain possession and make City work hard to close the ball down. The problem was, we didn't do that enough, didn't take two chances we created and were made to pay.
Diego Costa had his hardest battle of the season up against Vincent Kompany in the first half but grew into the game in the second. He worked tremendously hard for his team and was unlucky not to score twice (as I was referring to) as he headed a cross straight at Joe Hart in goal, followed by a turn and shot on the edge of the box that hit the post and deflected away from goal.
Chelsea had stood firm at the back despite City and all their dominance in the first half. City were all over us and we struggled to try and get people forward to support the ball up to Costa but it kept coming back again. Ivanovic, Cahill, JT and Azpilicueta all worked hard to close the door and it wasn't until the second half that Thibaut Courtois was forced into a save low down from Aguero.
There is a saying that "Football can be a game of two halves" and City didn't play with the same energy going forward in the second half compared to the first. Chelsea really grew into the game and with Costa finding his feet, we began to force City backwards.
Our goal was fantastic and a perfect demonstration of playing the right pass at the time on the counter attack! A city corner was cleared and Hazard was on his way from the edge of our box. He switches play out wide left and with City players retreating, the ball is worked over to Costa in the middle.
Costa keeps possession, steps wide of a challenge and lays the ball wide to Hazard and his cross is weighted perfectly in the area between Goalkeeper and Defenders giving Andre Schurrle a tap in at the far post from six yards!
City react and bring on Frank Lampard and Jesus Navas and for some reason, Chelsea begin to sit deep again and are no longer playing on the front foot. As a result, City force pressure on Chelsea and it's so frustrating. OK, we have closed the door up to this point, but we shouldn't be letting them have possession and force us backwards!
We pay the ultimate price as some neat interplay down our right hand side plays in James Milner into the box on the right hand side leaving Andre Schurrle for dead, as he looks to cross the ball, Frank Lampard has moved into the box with one of his trademark late runs into the space that Gary Cahill leaves to cover for Schurrle going missing!
The ball comes to Milner and his volleyed cross finds Lampard twelve yards out. John Terry tries to come across and challenge Lampard but he reacts well to move the position of his body and volleys the ball into the bottom corner, hard and low giving Courtois no chance 1-1 !
To sum up, it's tough to take seeing Lampard score to deny us the win because it's Lamps after all. He doesn't celebrate and shows respect to Chelsea. Before he scored, the whole Chelsea support in the far corner had been singing his name solidly for around ten minutes. It stopped as soon as the ball hit the net!
Chelsea so very nearly delivered the perfect Mourinho performance once again to take the three points. It's just a shame we let them back into it when that should never have happened.
On overall play, a draw is a fair result but we all know it could have been so very, very different!
What do you think of the game?