In an unusual turn of events the honours were shared between the 2 title favourites. Which all in all was probably a fair result. Certainly before a ball was kicked, Jose and his charges would have settled for a point.
The Manchester City management team decided to put Frank Lampard in an untenable position of playing him against his old pals. The Football God’s took full advantage and gave both home and away supporters much to ponder, not to mention the perfect back page headlines.
We all know that the main reasons that Super Frank is part of the Manchester City squad is to keep the pounds off till March and also let the world know who owns the New York City FC. I am sure when he signed on-loan , he never thought he would actually play against Chelsea.
If Pellegrini and the rest of the Man City management/ ownership group had any class they wouldn’t have made our hero enter the fray against the team that will always occupy the biggest space in his heart. They could have saved him for similar days against the likes of Arsenal, Man. Utd and Liverpool, after all he is only there as a symbol of the upcoming U.S franchise and will be leaving in a few months. Maybe wishful thinking but I don’t think Roman would have stooped so low.
Having put our former number 8 in this position, he acted in the only way he knows how…… as one of the truly professional players the EPL has ever seen.
He came on as a late sub , when Citeh we down and goal and down a man too. The Chelsea travelling fans gave him a standing ovation and “Super, Super Frank” , could be heard for miles around.
He then scored the equalizer. In typical Lampard style , he arrived in the box to drive a James Milner cross first time into the left corner. Courtios had no chance.
In what will be seen for some time to come as the most sporting of acts, The Chelsea fans cheered Lampard post the final whistle, even though the chance to go 8 points clear of their major rivals had gone. Frank approached the away end looking understandably shell-shocked at what had occurred. The second chorus of Super Super Frank seemed louder than the first!
One can always speculate that it would have been a different reaction if this would have been a season ender and City had just won the title , but luckily this early encounter will be well forgotten come May. I just bought my season tickets for NYCFC and look forward to seeing Frank stateside asap.
Onto the game. This was Chelsea’s first major test of the season against a title rival. We passed with flying colours. Jose basically adopted similar tactics to the LIverpool game at Anfield last season. Make Chelsea very hard to break down and his ambitions would have been well realized by watching a nil-nil draw. If we managed to get lucky , by the opposition “slipping up” as in the Pool game, maybe he could have his cake too. He nearly bagged all 3 points.
The Blues line up saw Willian , Ramires join Fabregas and Matic in midfield as our attacking options were sacrificed. Oscar and Schurrle were dropped to the bench. Hazard was allowed to venture forward to try to supply Costa with a scrap or two, but Fabregas’s wings were clipped for the afternoon.
City started the game well and the Chelsea defence had an immediate glimpse as to what sort of day the were in for. The home team had more corners than the local Indian community , but still couldn’t make it count.
Terry, Cahill, Ivanovich and Azpilicueta were superb and snuffed out any potential threat. When required Courtois dominated his box, especially during the barrage of Corner kicks.
Yaya Toure has yet to score or assist this season. Obviously and understandably the death of his brother has effected his drive, it may be right to give him some time off for reflection. Any football fan wants to see him back to his best as soon as possible.
The referee had a considerable influence on how the game panned out. Mike Dean pulled his yellow card out of his pocket so many times, 8 in all, that the September sunshine had almost bleached it white by the final whistle. It was not a dirty game, there were a few hard challenges to be sure but in the end the momentum seemed broken due to his actions. Which suited Chelsea down to the ground, literally in Hazard’s case, as he was bundled over with a feather for most of the first half.
It would be the usually reliable Zabaleta that would succumb to a double yellow. Diego Costa appears to know how to wind you up, and City’s Right back to the bait. There can be no real argument when he was dismissed for a second bookable offence midway thru the 2nd half.
Mourinho started to lick his chops. He put on Schurrle for Ramires as soon as the Red card was shown. He also replaced Willian with Mikel just to allow the German to venture all the way forward. On 71 mins, The Blues took the lead. An inch perfect cross from Eden Hazard saw Schurrle sneak in at the far post giving Joe Hart no chance.
Taking the lead with 20 mins to go against 10 men, one would have fancied the away side’s chances of shutting up shop and taking the spoils back to London. As we know it was not to be. Super Frank spoiled the day. Or did he? Waking up this morning, as crazy as it sounds it gave the Chelsea faithful one more chance to show their appreciation of one of its greatest heroes. Ironically better he scored than anyone else.
Still unbeaten and a game clear of the crowd, this has been a good start to the 2015 campaign.
While we are on the subject of Referees, Mark Clattenburg made a pigs ear out of the Man.Utd / Leicester game. If I didn’t know any better I’d say he had a little flutter on the newly promoted side winning that game. :)……. Stewards enquiry wight be order of the day.