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Man City 1-0 Chelsea: Blues crash to Tevez solo strike

manchester city striker carlos tevez

Written by Joe Carroll

Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the season as they went down 1-0 in a miserable encounter with Manchester City. A Carlos Tevez strike in the 59th minute proved enough to disrupt what had been a perfect start to Chelsea’s Premier League campaign, but the Blues will be looking at themselves upon returning from Eastlands as they never performed to the standards they have so far set themselves.

There was much hype surrounding the fixture before kick-off, not least for it’s heavyweight billing and line up of superstar signings on both teams.  But this game was anticipated so eagerly because it would provide Chelsea with arguably their first meaningful test of the season so far.  Carlo Ancelotti’s side have been overwhelmingly convincing in their first five games but as many had rightly pointed out, the high-scoring mauling’s had come at the expense of the teams expected to be fighting for survival come next May if not treading water in the bottom half of the table.

West Brom, Wigan, Stoke, West Ham and Blackpool were all dismantled with the minimum of fuss.  Manchester City would provide a much sterner challenge for the current champions.  And the home team inevitably made things more difficult for the London side.

The hosts showed their intent from the off with goalscorer Tevez proving a constant thorn in the Chelsea defence.  The Argentine did well to free himself in the middle of the park and advancing on the away goal unleashed a decent attempt that goalkeeper Petr Cech saw wide.  City’s lavish summer spending sent a signal of intent that they are here to challenge for honours, but they were clearly not content with this statement alone and sought to prove early on that they can mix it with the likes of Chelsea.

And one of those multi-million pound signings was doing his best to upset the champions.  David Silva was giving Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovich food-for-thought down their left flank, beating the Serbian on more than one occasion with some telling crosses.  Whilst the first half didn’t provide much in the way of exciting, imaginative football, the home side were having more to say and Roberto Mancini would have been the happier Italian going in at the break.

Chelsea’s only real endeavours of the first 45 minutes came in the form of Nicolas Anelka and defender Ivanovich.  The Frenchman curled an effort just wide on 18 minutes while Ivanovich hit Joe Hart’s post on the half hour mark with a header.  The rebound was pounced on by the England number 1 and the half disappeared to the polite applause of the Eastlands crowd.

The second half resumed, and Chelsea striker Anelka fancied another go at beating City’s keeper.  Hart did well to parry his stinging effort and it looked as though Chelsea were finally finding their feet in this game.  But 15 minutes after the restart, somewhat against the run of play, City took the lead.

Tevez picked up the ball on the half way line and seeing the space generously given to him by the Chelsea defence, ran with menacing intent on the visitors goal.  Finding himself in a one-on-one with last man Ashley Cole, the Argentine checked onto his right foot in an instant and fired precisely into the opposite corner.

Great players and great goals win football matches, and with City taking the lead it certainly looked like Tevez’s excellent strike would prove decisive.

But Chelsea immediately looked to find an equaliser and whilst their overall performance so far had been somewhat lacklustre their was still enough time and quality for Chelsea to get something out of the game.  Ramires responded at the other end, coming close after being put through by Florent Malouda, only to be thwarted by Nigel de Jong.

Chelsea’s Midfield enforcer was a two goal hero on their last Premier League away trip.  He helped the Blues to a 3-1 win at West Ham and the Ghana star went in search of adding to his tally with a 25-yard scorcher.

If Chelsea were going to find a goal, it was not going to come in the form of Didier Drogba who had an all round ‘bad day at the office’.  His day ended as a 75th minutes sub, with youngster Daniel Sturridge replacing him.  Ancelotti put his faith in youth in the midweek Carling Cup defeat to Newcastle and he was willing to give them a chance to atone for Wednesday’s disappointment as Josh McEachran came on for Ramires.

Despite the changes, the Blues simply weren’t doing enough to win the game.  A lack of urgency, stifled by a dogged City display seemed to be the main cause.  Chelsea just couldn’t find a chance to get into their flowing style that has served them so well under Ancelotti, and the disruptive nature of City’s performance seemed to be the cause.

Whilst Chelsea were not the team that has so comfortably gained a 100% start to the league, Man City must be given credit for looking like a team that has a chance of knocking the champions off their perch.  They took the game to Chelsea and with a vocal home gathering, were united in shutting out the endeavours of Ancelotti’s side.

That’s two defeats in four days now for Chelsea; not a situation they are too used to finding themselves in.  There was much said about Chelsea’s easy run in up to now, and there was a sense that they had become a little too comfortable with the ease at which they’ve started.  It will be a test of character now after their first league defeat, as to whether they are still made of the tough stuff that wins you championships.

Player Ratings

Chelsea: Cech 5, Cole, 5, Terry 5, Alex, 6, Ivanovich 6, Essien 6, Ramires 6, Mikel 5, Malouda 5, Drogba 4, Anelka 6

Man City: Hart 6, Kompany 6, Zabaletta 7, K Youre 7, Boyata 6, Milner 5, Barry 7, Silva 7, De Jong 7, Y Toure 8, Tevez 8

What is your assessment of Chelsea’s performance at Eastlands?…Did City overpower Chelsea too easily, or did they just not turn up?…Can the Blues bounce back?…please leave your comments below…

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