Well, agree or not, that felt quite like a win to me. If you had told me prior to the game that you’d draw Chelsea, at the form they are in right, while down a man I’d take it in heart beat. You always want to take maximum points at home, but in some cases a point will do just fine and today was that type of game.
As seems to always be the case with City, we held much of the possession especially during the first half. The biggest event of the first half was, at about the 30th minute, referee Mike Dean got a little yellow card happy and started handing them out like candy. I usually don’t blame officials for effecting a game (that’s a lie) because their jobs are hard enough as it is, but Dean’s cards completely effected how the game was going to play out. By the end of the first half it seemed that every boarder line foul was becoming a booking, which came back to bite us later.
In the second half we started brightly, looking more likely to be the first one of the score sheet, but that wouldn’t be the case. In the 66th minute our first half yellow card flourish came back to bite us when Pablo got in a tangle with the feisty Diego Costa and was sent off after receiving his second yellow of the game. From that point on I was sitting on the edge of my seat just expecting the potent Chelsea attack to find the back of the net. Yes, I am quite pessimistic at times! About five minutes after Zaba was sent off, the goal came in the form of a Schurrle tap in. But, the Chelsea old boy came back in to haunt them before he heads for MLS next season. Minutes after being subbed in against his long-time team, Lampard found the back of the net to bring City level with Chelsea at 1-1. Milner’s pest like nature around the box against Chelsea was rewarded with his assist, which lead to the Lampard goal. Silva’s chipped pass was headed into the middle of the box by Milner and Lampard did what he does best by putting the ball into the back of the net. It may have been a bit awkward for all parties involved, but Chelsea fans living in the States will get use to that as Lampard will be doing some goal scoring for NYCFC, plus I’ll take goals from whomever wants to score! I’ll reiterate what I said at the top, a draw here is the best outcome, in my opinion, given the way the game played out, so I’m not as heartbroken as I was seeing Pablo get sent off.
The standouts for me today were Kompany (of course), Mangala in his debut, Fernandinho and Milner. This does not mean that there weren’t others who had good games, but these were the top for me. Kompany did a fantastic job of winning the one-on-one battles with Costa, who can be a handful at times. Mangala impressed in his debut with a great work rate, solid tackles and reading of the game. Can’t wait to see him play more. Fernandinho made some more solid tackles around our defensive third halting a Chelsea attack, or causing the Chelsea player to make a poor pass. Milner, much like Fernandinho, can be all over the pitch intercepting passes, getting at and opponents defense and picking out the right passes in or around the box.
It was a tough stretch of games, but I believe the team moral should be high. Early days, not much to get too stressed out about now. The next two games get a bit easier with a Capital One Cup match against Sheffield Wednesday, coincidentally, on Wednesday followed by an EPL game on Saturday against Hull City.