It was quite a contentious match on an unordinary day at Eastlands Saturday as Manchester City held on for a morale-boosting 2-1 win against Chelsea.
What was most obvious about this game is how much it mattered to most teams. I lost count of the number of times Chelsea and City players collided when trying to win 50/50 balls. Plus the workrate of several players, especially Carlos Tevez, was extraordinary. Chelsea hate to lose but this was a match that you have to give a lot of credit to City. As the commentator summed up at the end, “What a win,” and what a win it was indeed.
The most contentious moment in the game was City’s first goal which definitely hit Toure’s arm before landing in the path of Emmanuel Adebayor who slotted the ball into the net. The referee should have awarded a free kick to Chelsea, but he failed to see what the TV replay showed and City got away with it.
The other defining moment of the game was Frank Lampard’s penalty near the end which was saved by Shay Given. You can usually bank your money on Lampard scoring from the spot kick, but Lampard’s accuracy of getting the ball near the corner of the post failed him this time and Given guessed the right way and saved the ball with relative ease.
Overall, this wasn’t a classic game in terms of football skill but it definitely was an unpredictable one where you never knew what was going to happen next. Referee Howard Webb was too involved in this game for my liking and gave away too many unnecessary yellow cards, but it was definitely a difficult game to referee with plenty of aggression shown by both sides.
So much for Chelsea looking like an unbeatable machine, but it shows they are human after all. Not to take anything away from Manchester City, the Citizens battled hard and deserved to get something out of this game. Are they flat track bullies in reverse? Perhaps, but Hughes’s biggest challenge now is to get his City side playing like this against weaker opposition and tightening up his defense.