Lampard penalty destroys ten-man Manchester City’s unbeaten record as Blues bounce back in Stamford Bridge
Chelsea inflicted a first defeat of the season on Manchester City in an enthralling game at Stamford Bridge. A Frank Lampard penalty won it for the Blues, after Mario Balotelli opened the scoring for City early on, and before Raul Meireles equalised for the home side.
Chelsea climb back above Tottenham and Arsenal in the league, whilst the Citizens remain in top spot, but are now in a vulnerable position sitting just two points above neighbours Manchester United.
If Chelsea had a gameplan to stifle the visitors and put an end to their unbeaten streak, it was certainly undone just 100 seconds into the game. Mario Balotelli, preferred in attack to Bosnian Edin Dzeko, collected Sergio Aguero’s through ball, and coolly rounded Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech to silence Stamford Bridge.
For all his off-field antics, Roberto Mancini clearly had faith in his 21-year-old, and he repaid his manager’s confidence with his eighth goal in as many starts.
Mancini’s men continued to exert numerous amounts of pressure on the Chelsea defence, who had brought in Branislav Ivanovic into the side for the suspended David Luiz.
Sergio Aguero struck wide, and David Silva’s claims for a penalty were turned down as City looked to kill off any sign of Chelsea life early on.
However, after Drogba went close on a couple of occasions, Chelsea began to get a foothold in the game, disrupting the Man City flow, and passing the ball around themselves.
Their reward came just past the half hour mark, after John Terry’s diagonal ball found Daniel Sturridge. The forward showed quick feet to get around marker Gael Clichy, and his low cross was converted by Raul Meireles, scoring his first Premier League goal for the Londoners.
After half time, the tide had well and truly turned, with Chelsea looking the more threatening going forward, Sturridge and Juan Mata looking particularly threatening on the wings.
However it was the energy of centre midfielder, Ramires, that brought about the possible turning point of the game.
In what was set up to be a interesting last 30 minutes, the Brazilian skipped forward and tumbled over a late challenge by Gael Clichy. The left-back, who had only just been booked received his second yellow and given his marching orders.
Mancini tried shuffling his team around, but with Aguero and Silva both sacrificed for defensive substitutes, he was looking to leave the capital with a draw. His counterpart, Andre Villas-Boas though, was sniffing blood, and sensed the visitors were there for the taking. He sent on Frank Lampard to try and win the game.
And a mixture of AVB’s great thinking, Man City’s negative approach and the hunger and slick passing of the 11 in blue, brought about the winner for the home side.
Sturridge, yet again involved, saw his shot handled by defender Joleon Lescott, and referee Mark Clattenberg pointed to the spot. Lampard stepped up, despite his 50% record this season from penalties, and smashed the ball home to give Chelsea all three points and go to within seven points of the Citizens.