Date:Saturday December 5 2009
Elite City prove they are real deal
Ask any City fan what come to mind when they think about Chelsea against City and they'll all probably tell you the same.
Power, organisation, ruthless determination, focus and a landslide of goals against!
In the past City have been too fragile psychologically or guilty of not having players up for the physical battle against the Londoners brute strength.
In Drogba and Anelka up front backed up by Lampard, Essien and Ballack, you have a midfield powerhouse that is the most dominating midfield in the world.
In midweek City showed signs that they had that physical brute force to compete for the first time by crunching the life out of Arsenals talented young gunners.
Yet the scintillating performance today proved to millions watching that this City side now has the power to go with the skill and fancy footwork to trouble any defence in the world.
With the players such as Lescott, De Jong, Richards, Barry and Kompany City are no longer the bullied, but the bullies of the playground.
City began the game showing the same intensity as against Arsenal and looked the better side with more shots on target and corners, but fell behind to an own goal form Emmanuel Adebayor.
No one would think that the best team in Europe at the moment would have then gone on to take control of the game, but nothing could be further from the truth as City showed another part of their new character.
The new resilience that has seen City only beaten once all season was again evident as the Sky Blues immediately pressured the Chelsea midfield, playing some exhilarating stuff stretching the Chelsea fullbacks and interchanging passes at will.
City finally broke the deadlock after a centre was floated into the Chelsea area and after the ball had found its way to Adebayor the big front man lashed it into the net.
The ball did hit Micah Richards on the arms before it fell to Adebayor, but the young England defender could have done nothing to avoid it.
Key a predictable mass protest from Chelsea, but it was to be in vain as the goal would stand and Webb waved the players back to the centre circle.
You know you have Chelsea on the back foot, when Ashley Cole is acting like a petulant school boy as if the opposition should not have the right to be on top.
The second half continued began with the same intensity as the first with both sides looking to impose their dominance on the game.
It was City spurred on by their magnificent support that began to look like the superior team again.
After a period of intense pressure, City finally found the breakthrough when a free kick was fired in by the electric Carlos Tevez past a Peter Cech that Paul Merson had previously lorded as the best in the business last week- Nice one Toady!
You need a nut-cracker to break a hard nut as Arsenal found out to their cost last weekend and City certainly were cracking bones with Lescott and Bridge giving Drogba a hard time and De Jong showing Essien there is more than one master of destruction in this league.
City, after recent collapses, understandably had a period of uncertainty when Chelsea created a few chances.
Drogba went close on a couple of occasions and Chelsea looked like they would get an undeserved goal.
Both Wayne Bridge and Micah Richards had become casualties in this all out war and had to be replaced by Nedum Onuoha and Vincent Kompany respectively.
Gareth Barry was shifted to left back and although already exhausted and on a yellow, proved his value to the team with a composed display.
Onouha on the other hand, made the mistake of letting Drogba get goal side and a rash challenge brought the Ivory Coast star for a definite penalty.
What happened next transformed this game into a Premier League classic with all forty-eight thousand fans in the stadium, millions worldwide watching and all of the Premier League teams held their breath as Frank Lampard faced off with Shay Given.
The resulting penalty save was met with shock and exultation from no doubt everybody not wearing Chelsea Blue as Given denied Lampard's nervous penalty making every England fan sit nervously on their chair at a similar prospect next summer in South Africa.
It seemed as though every Chelsea player had been booked, including the subs by the time John Terry was forced to leave the field but there were to be no defensive lapses this week however, as City closed out the game after six minutes of stoppage time.
Tevez and Richards were fantastic, but none of it would have been possible without winning the infantry battle against Lampard, Ballack and Essien, and Nigel De Jong's destructive presence in midfield puts him up there with the very best defensive midfielders in the world.
Have City found their Claude Makele, the lynchpin of their early success? If they have then the Blue Juggernaut is finally back on its way to the top four.
Although United et al will have been cheering the Blues on to the final whistle today, some of them now know that City will be chasing them down from now until the very end of the season.
Date:Saturday December 5 2009
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|1. Man City||8||6||0||2||+12||18|
|3. Man Utd||8||5||1||2||+4||16|
|4. Crystal Palace||8||5||0||3||+4||15|
|5. Leicester City||8||4||3||1||+2||15|
|6. West Ham||8||4||2||2||+6||14|
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