By Robert Morris
Carlos Tevez (photo) scored the only goal to end Chelsea’s 100% start to the season.
Defending an unbeaten home record against the Premier League Champions, City faced their toughest challenge in a game that had been described as a ‘Battle of the chequebooks.’ Chelsea, who had scored nine goals and conceded just one in two away games so far this season, had to do without Frank Lampard at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Manchester City had injury problems of their own with Micah Richards, Wayne Bridge, Aleksander Kolarov and Joleon Lescott all on the sidelines. This meant youngster Dedryck Boyata was drafted into the defence.
In what was an uninspiring first half dominated by hard tackles, the only highlight came when Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic met a corner and his glancing header hit the post.
The second-half didn’t start much better but in the 59th minute the deadlock was broken. James Milner managed to dispossess Ramires in midfield, allowing Yaya Toure to feed the ball to Carlos Tevez. The Argentine ran unchallenged from the halfway line and as John Terry and Ashley Cole backed off, Tevez hit a low shot that rolled in off the post. 1-0 to Manchester City.
Despite seeking an equaliser, Chelsea created very little and the ineffective Didier Drogba was soon replaced by former City striker Daniel Sturridge to a chorus of boos from the home fans. Without doubt a surprise substitution. Although in truth, Carlo Ancelotti could have taken off either of his front men. The Chelsea boss will be disappointed with his side as they barely tested Joe Hart in the City goal, mainly thanks to the solid defending of Vincent Kompany at the heart of the defence.
Blues fans will have their title ambitions reignited by this hard fought 1-0 win but will not have to wait long until their next big test; Thursday’s Europa League game against Juventus.