Chelsea put out a powerful lineup, and it was obvious this was their plan as they rested key players in their Europa League match earlier in the week. But, City came out immediately and showed Chelsea that not only did they mean business, but also they were going to have their way early. We held possession for the majority of the first half, Chelsea looked sluggish, tired and unorganized, especially in defense, which has been a weakness of theirs all season. It wasn’t until the final ten minutes of the first half that City found a breakthrough goal after a lovely build up started by Yaya, the ball found the foot, then chest, then foot of Nasri, an extremely surprising source for a goal this season, Nasri has really stepped up in the last three games and has displayed an air of confidence that I wish we saw all season from the Frenchmen.
Once City scored a switch clicked for Chelsea, as their attack came alive at the end of the first half and put the pressure on City. The first half’s man of the match certainly had to go to Chelsea’s Petr Cech even though he gave up a goal, he could have easily conceded a few more. Some of that may stem from City’s inability to finish in the final third, but Cech made some stellar saves to keep his side in the game.
In the second half City picked up right where they left off in the first half, as Aguero headed a beautiful pass from Barry and put it in the upper 90, as Cech looked like a deer in headlights. City continued to attack, attack and attack, but with no results as each opportunity fell to the wayside, much to my disappointment. Quicker than Benitez’s Chelsea tenure will last, Chelsea pulled a goal in their favor after a great display of skill from Ba to find the back of the net. From that point it was game on for Chelsea, they constantly pressured City when we had possession, leading to a lot of sloppy play for the Blues. A very cautious Pantilimon showed his skill with a couple of great saves keeping Chelsea from equalizing.
It was a frantic finish that really put strain on the old heart, and the addition to some caffeine did not help, but City managed to hold on, and almost extend their lead a few times in the final minutes of the match. The non-penalty call on Kompany as he pulled the shirt of Torres will provide the media with a great talking point, and rightfully so. In my opinion, it certainly was a penalty but there was no call, so I’ll act like it never happened ;). The media will also have a field day with Aguero stamp on David Luis, it was, according to the replay, intentional and now the backlash from this will probably leave City Aguero-less for the next few matches.
City head to the FA Cup final against Wigan, meaning Roberto Mancini is one game away from “keeping his job.” Glad to see City return to the FA Cup final two years removed from their last appearance and victory. Wigan won’t be the tough competition like Chelsea, but fighting for their future in the league, a FA Cup trophy would be a great consolation prize for them, so they will give City everything they have. We will get a preview to the match this Wednesday as we take on Wigan, Come on City!
Tevez (6) – Heavily involved in first half’s attack, but when the second half began he was far less involved. His continued positive form will be much needed, especially with some sort of suspension imminent for Aguero.
Aguero (7) – Great to have him back in the starting 11, but only for a short period of time. His ability to turn of the weaker Chelsea defenders gave City plenty of opportunities to increase their lead. He caught the defense napping on several occasions, including his goal-scoring header.
Milner (6) – Quiet game for Milner, not heavily involved on the goal scoring attacks. When he had possession in goal scoring areas he lacked the usual skill he has had in past matches.
Yaya (8 MotM) – He essentially committed assault on Chelsea the entire match. Anyone who tried to dispossess the Ivorian was shoved off in a David v. Goliath type fashion (with Goliath winning this time, of course). He was the key element to City’s attack and without him today I believe the score would’ve had a different tilt to it.
Nasri (6) – Seriously, did Mancini punch Nasri after the press conference where he said he wished he could? Nasri has been the player we have expected him to be since he put on the sky blue of the City uniform. As awkward as his goal was, it still went in and gave City the 1-0 lead.
Barry (7) – Barry was strong in the defensive midfield today, and when Chelsea tried to counter attack, he was right there to slow the attack or stop it all together. I was very pleased by his performance today.
Zaba (6) – Didn’t see much of the pressure since Chelsea struggled to even get the ball in the first half. When he needed to late, he made strong tackles to dispossess Chelsea attackers.
Nasty (5) – Another great learning experience for the younger defender, and he showed his poise late when Chelsea’s attack began to charge on City’s goal. He had a few moments of weaknesses, but in a 90-minute game you expect mistakes to happen.
Kompany (6) – Kompany tried to put on his shooting boots today, huh? Other than his brain fart on the Ba goal, he had another strong performance in central defense. He has done a great job of clearing crosses from reaching their targets and his height gives us another option on corner kicks. Great to have him back.
Clichy (6) – Hazard tried his best to give him fits, but other than the late opportunity for Hazard, Clichy did a great job to keep Chelsea at bay. He showed his marking ability on numerous occasions deep in City’s box.
Pantilimon (4) – Other than his two great saves at the end of the match, Pantilimon looked scared to come get the ball when he needed too. You could tell the City player’s were not use to this as Joe is usually more confident when balls come into the box.
Garcia (N/A) – Not enough true involvement to determine a rating
Lescott (N/A) – Came on too late