Thursday, 22 March 2012

City vs Chelsea: Match Report

Tevez gives a helping hand to boost City's hopes of a first Premier League title

By Aaron Leggott

Samir Nasri completes the comeback to keep alive our title hopes
(Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe)
It seems that Carlos Tevez loves to make the headlines. After his infamous spat with Roberto Mancini last September, the Argentinian hitman came off the bench to provide a touch of inspiration to keep the title race well and truly on for the Blues.

After Manchester United's victory last weekend, defeat was not an option for the hosts who entertained an in-form Chelsea side, revitalised under the guidance of Roberto di Matteo.

And if it wasn't for goals from Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri within the last 13 minutes, the dreams of a first Premier League title were all but fading away after a Gary Cahill goal just on the hour mark put Chelsea ahead.

It wasn't exactly a vintage performance from the Blues, who ensured they broke a Premier League record with their 20th consecutive home victory against a side whose hopes of Champions League football were given a huge blow within some moments of madness.

City announced their intentions before kick off with a team which oozed attacking class both on and off the bench. Fernando Torres kept his place as Chelsea's lone man up front, but the big news was the return of Tevez, who found himself on familiar ground after being named on Mancini's bench.

There was a lot of anxiety in the crowd, both in the home and away ends, and this mood seemed to channel itself onto the pitch for the majority of the first half. City were arguably the better side during this period, and were unlucky not to take the lead when Samir Nasri hit the woodwork within the first ten minutes after a breathtaking pass by Yaya Toure.

It was Mario Balotelli who was given the greatest chance to put the hosts ahead though, after a wayward pass from Chelsea captain Frank Lampard found the Italian through on goal. Unfortunately for the City faithful, Mario's shot was in a similar ilk to Lampard's pass, and Petr Cech was able to tip it past the post.

With Chelsea being forced into an early change, they never seemed to get going and the injury of Branislav Ivanovic didn't help matters, who was replaced by Jose Bosingwa. The visitors' best chance fell to the feet of Juan Mata, who like his Spanish counterpart in David Silva, fluffed his shot wide.

Just after the half time whistle, a spat between Nasri and Balotelli seemed to frustrate Mancini, who seemingly had enough of Balotelli's wasteful performance, and the Italian made way for Gareth Barry in the second half.

It was a strange move by Mancini considering the attacking options available to him on the bench, but it was an understandable change with the dangers that Chelsea posed on the counter attack. Yaya Toure pushed forward, and the game started to open up a bit more.

Nasri was once again left frustrated as his cross was tipped onto the crossbar by Petr Cech, and the Frenchman's frustration was felt around the ground just moments later when Silva shot rolled just inches wide, so much so that thousands of fans thought his shot went in.

However, just minutes later, a corner at the other end of the pitch resulted in Chelsea taking the lead, completely against the run of play. Barry's attempted clearance fell straight to Cahill, whose shot took a mean deflection off Yaya Toure's foot, giving Joe Hart no chance. There were some questions raised over whether David Luiz pushed Barry in the build up to the goal, and there was a lot of credibility in this argument.

City desperately needed a win to keep their title hopes alive, and desperate times called for desperate measures. On came Carlos Tevez for Nigel de Jong, and there was a mainly positive reception as he entered the fray.

Tevez replaces de Jong to help keep City's title hopes alive
(Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe)
 The game opened up greatly towards the final stages, as Edin Dzeko also made an appearance as he replaced David Silva, and City got their reward for their persistant pressure as a Pablo Zabaleta was met by the hands of Michael Essien, and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot.

Up stepped Sergio Aguero, who finished the penalty in cool fashion, and City sensed a great comeback was on the horizon.

The way we played during the last 15 minutes was reminiscent of Manchester United throughout the years, and the rewards were endless as a frantic finale was settled with just five minutes to spare as Nasri tapped in from a clever Tevez pass.

The crowd was understandably ecstatic, and we must now focus our attentions towards the Britannia Stadium, in what is dubbed as another cup final, well for Manchester City anyway.

The Sky Blue View asks you!

So, after we asked for your views on tonights game on our Twitter feed, we have picked out the best replies:

@Harrison4Dawn: "My view - Phew"

@genesismama: "We proved all the doubters wrong and Carlos is back"

@jackmumf: "Nasri- best performance in a city shirt, upset that it required the thing (Tevez). Zaba,   Aguero, Barry, Richards all colossal"

Remember, you can follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! We hope you all enjoyed the game, and leave you with this.....

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