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Chelsea 1 City 0

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The omens for today weren't good, and there was a sense of inevitability once Chelsea went ahead today and unfortunately, if anything it was Chelsea who were the likely of the two sides to score again.

I thought that with Kompany and de Jong out, relying on a more attacking midfield may have worked in our favour in that rather than sitting back we would take the game more to our hosts. That did not work however as the trio of Lampard, Ballack and the returning Essien stifled our attempts at creativity and were impressive themselves going forward.

Inevitably with another away defeat, and another fairly drab performance the critics would be out but it is easy to forget we were up against a very good side, who, despite the advances we have made this season, are still some way ahead of us.

Mark Hughes felt that we paid the price for Thursday's exertions and it is no doubt difficult to maintain a challenge on both fronts:
"I think that our efforts on Thursday took a little bit of sharpness out of us that we needed today. Against a side like Chelsea you have to be dynamic and have a physical presence to drive the game.

"We did not have that in our play today, and our absentees would have helped in that respect. Maybe we were just a little lightweight in key areas, and as a consequence once we went behind we found it difficult to get behind Chelsea and cause them problems in the attacking third of the pitch.

"There's the disappointment of conceding a goal like we did, but we kept going. There was not a great deal of tempo to the game, it was slow and methodical and that suited Chelsea rather than us. We were always trying to get back into the game."

This is not to duck the issue of our poor form though and the disparity in our home and away form appears no nearer to being resolved. This is though in contrast to our performances (Racing Santander excepted) in the UEFA Cup, where we have generally impressed - albeit against sides who would not be among the Premier League elite.

The race for seventh probably looks beyond us (despite our home form) if West Ham triumph tomorrow evening so given the opportunity we have in the UEFA Cup, perhaps our focus needs to be very much on the one competition we can still achieve success in this season.