Impressions of Manchester City vs Chelsea at Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium was the venue for a game that seemed somewhat anti-climactic after the epic Champions League Final and long Premier League season. Manchester City defeated Chelsea 5-3 in the match, but the result was overshadowed by last week’s announcement of Manchester City’s investment in MLS. MCFC’s investment in the US domestic game served to heighten excitement around the ground and interest in this match around the country. The New York Yankees, the most recognizable sports brand in the United States, are part of this investment and in 2015 the team owned by MCFC and the Yankees will begin play in Major League Soccer.

Both Manchester City and Chelsea entered a post-season tour of the United States with interim managers and lots of question marks. Chelsea’s side has lots of genuine quality and attacking flair, but rotation has limited opportunities and consistency for some of the younger emerging stars, while injuries also hurt the club during the recently completed 2012-13 season.

Despite the theory that Manchester City’s attacking players are top shelf, Chelsea’s absent Frank Lampard, a part-time player this season in Rafa Benitez’s “rotation” scored more league goals than any member of MCFC’s squad. Sergio Aguero has had trouble scoring goals away from Manchester in his two-year City career, but the morning announcement that he had extended his contract through 2017 was met with enthusiasm from the City faithful gathered at Yankee Stadium.

The venue itself is hardly suitable for proper soccer, with a narrow and short pitch as well as baseball dirt inhibiting the ability of players to have a proper run up to corner kicks. Still the new stadium across the street from where its venerable predecessor sat is a sight to see, a state-of-the–art facility with the charm of a traditional baseball ground. Many newer venues in the United States do not retain the sentimentality Yankee Stadium does.

The match itself was little more than a high-level kick around. The enthusiastic crowd was treated to eight goals and some scintillating build-up play by Manchester City in particular. But the narrowness of the pitch limited the ability of Chelsea’s superior wide play to impact the match and thus the result itself must be viewed with a bit of skepticism.

Samir Nasri and James Milner stood out as the top performers for Manchester City while Chelsea’s top performers were Ramires and Juan Mata whose 61st minute entry in the match opened the game up for the west Londoners. This match also represented the last match for Paulo Ferreira, the Portuguese utility defender who is retiring. Ferreira in his career won 2 Champions League titles, 2 UEFA Cups/Europa League 4 FA Cups, 3 Premier League winners’ medals and 2 Portuguese League titles.

Manchester City has now defeated Chelsea in five different cities on two different continents during the 2012-13 season. Yet it is Chelsea who appear to have the brighter future, with a young core of stars that showed real flashes of quality during this match as well as the imminent return of the “Special One,” Jose Mourinho. Manchester City’s future is in more serious question as a manager needs to be appointed and a clear-out is expected of many core players this summer. The fine play of James Milner in this game as well as during the 2012-13 season as well as a solid backline are important building blocks, but despite City’s prolific nine goals in two games on US soil, the side’s inability to break down opposition in the final third during competitive matches will need to be seriously addressed this summer.

Chelsea will return to the United States in July for the International Challenge Cup while Manchester City begin a summer of retooling that will be critical if the Citizens are to keep up with Chelsea and Manchester United atop the Premier League.

12 thoughts on “Impressions of Manchester City vs Chelsea at Yankee Stadium”

  1. City have finished ahead of Chelsea two years running and as you mentioned defeated them 5 times this season. Perhaps it’s Chelsea who need to “keep up” with City?

    1. You may have been ahead of us in the league the last two season but we have won 2 European Cups and didn’t loose to a team that got relegated in a Cup Final.

      1. Who is this “you” you speak of?

        I am not even saying Chelsea are definitively worse than City. But clearly City doesn’t need to “keep up” with Chelsea. Poor choice of words by the author.

  2. After being at the match, I feel this article is a poor reflection on the match with some misguided opinions thrown in.

    It was a fun day out to watch some quality football! Stop looking for stories that aren’t there.

  3. City really don’t need to do much to retool. They got rid of their biggest obstacle already. However there’s no way to go but up when you finish dead last in your CL group.

  4. The squad Chelsea has built is almost an anti-Mourinho type team. Mostly finesse players upfront and a weak group of defenders. So looking at the present group of players and expecting Mourinho to instantly coach them up, is a stretch. He’ll eventually get it right, but I’d expect there will be some shuffling to the current make up of the squad.

  5. Was at the match with the Connecituct Blues and had an amazing time. Meet some people from Scotland and Canada. Had a much better time this time than last summer because we able to stand a belt out songs all match long. The only thing I was disappointed with was how the match was brought to by Man City (Etihad Airways) on Fox Soccer.

  6. I think this article reflected the game pretty well! I was in the stands, and while City’s line up looked like they could fight Man United in some final, Chelsea managed pretty well with those three amazing teenagers in tow. I became a fan of Nathan Ake for sure!

  7. Since I was not watching on Fox Sports, my perspective was from being there directly. Had a great time time for sure for an unseasonably cold late May day. I’m a new Man City fan as well. Only thing that disappointed me was when we entered the stadium they were giving out free Chelesa flags. Looked around the stadium for Man City. When I found the Etihad booth, they gave out real cheap visors.

    They said that because the Yankees are associated with Delta and so is Chelsea, they made sure to wipe off most signs of Etihad. Figured since MCFC and the Yanks are now business partners that woudn’t be the case. Oh well, the only negative on an otherwise great experience.

    Go Sky Blues.

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