Chelsea displayed superb mixture of defence and counter attacks on way to defeat Manchester City by a goal at their home. The goal was scored by Branislav Ivanovic in the 31st minute from 25 yards from a fierce strike.
The win has larger implications. It was the first home defeat of Man C in League this season. They won all the 15 games they have played at the Etihad Stadium. Bayren Munich is the only team which has beaten Manchester City at home. Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham (among all) have tasted humiliated defeats at their home. All in all, they have scored 115 goals in all the competitions this season. It was the first time that City has failed to score at their home in EPL since November-2010, a streak of 61 matches.
With this win, Chlesea completed the double over their rivals. Maurinho again won the right to be called ‘The Special One.’ In his words- “Two horses and a little horse…. A little horse that still needs milk and to learn how to jump. A horse that next season can race.”
With these words he meant that Man C and Arsenal are better horses. He is transforming the Blue brigade to gallop all others the next season.
But these statements are purely part of the mind game that the coaches play. This defeat has seriously put Chelsea in a good position. Had City defeated them in the match then the gap would have been of 6 points. The difference would have been hard to fill. Chelsea is in shooting position with just 2 points short at the top.
Before coming on to the ground, the Blues were fully aware that the biggest task in front of them would be to stop devastating strickers of hosts. They worked on the strategy quite beautifully and relied on quick counter attacks. The winning margin could have been more. Samuel Eto’o hit the bar. Shots of Nemanja Matic and Gary Cahill struck the post.
City missed injured Aguero during the match. Fernandinho was ruled out for the match due to injury in the last minute. Alvaro Negredo couldn’t lift the responsibility and crucial traction in the attack was provided by Yaya Toure. Martin Demichelis in the centre midfield could not stop Chelsea’s move.
There were some moments of brilliance for Manchester side in the game. Free kick of David Silva was denied entry in goal post by Petr Cech. In the final minute, long range shot of Jovetic was brilliantly tipped over by Cech.
Maurniho has proved that he is a master strategist. Few have forgotten how Inter Milan soaked all the attacks of Barcelona in Champions League semi final leg 2 in 2010 at Nau Camp. In the press conference after the match, a journalist said “Sir, it seemed that you have parked a bus in front of the goal.” With a wry smile, he answered- “That was not a bus, that was an aeroplane”. Maurinho has shown again how to stop a devastating attacking opposition and why he deserves to be among the best coaches in the world. The result was ‘Even better than the real thing.’