Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Match Report: City 3 - 2 Chelsea

Our third trophy in three years... it's good to be a City fan! 

By Aaron Leggott

People (including myself), have always described the Community Shield as a "glorified" pre-season friendly, but the spectacle viewed by 36,000 at Villa Park yesterday challenged the popular opinion, as City got the better of Chelsea in an entertaining match.

And despite the dismissal of Chelsea's Branislav Ivanović on the stroke of half time, City proved to the viewing public that they remain the team to beat, thanks to a man of the match performance from Yaya Touré.

Roberto Mancini decided to set up with his new 3-5-2 formation, and despite missing key players like Joe Hart, David Silva, Joleon Lescott and Mario Balotelli, Mancini proved how much strength in depth he possesses in his grasp. 

Possession seems to be the constant in Mancini's philosophy, and despite a change in formation, City still kept the ball comfortably, whilst Chelsea set up in a similar fashion which saw them victorious in Munich last May. 

New boy Eden Hazard also made his debut against the team that was rumoured to be interested in him this summer, and City fans took little time to mock the Belgian winger after a poor attempt at a back heel. Perhaps it will take the ex-Lille winger time to settle in, but when you're struggling against an inexperienced Stefan Savic, it must be worrying for Roberto di Matteo to think how he will cope at the likes of the Britannia Stadium in months to come.

Both chances had half chances in the first half, but it was a feisty half with challenges flying in everywhere, and to be quite honest, both midfield's cancelled each other out throughout the early stages. 

Efforts from Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri forced Petr Cech into decent saves, whilst at the other end, Hazard tested Costel Pantilimon with a fizzing effort from the edge of the area, which fell comfortably into the Romanian's gloves.

However, it was Chelsea who opened the scoring against the run of play five minutes before the break. Surprisingly, it was Vincent Kompany whose attempt to clear the ball fell to the feet of Ramires, who found Fernando Torres with a neat reverse pass. The Spaniard then had the easy task of lifting the ball over Pantilimon into the goal and giving himself a much needed confidence boost ahead of the new season.

However, Torres was regularly isolated up front on his own, and the dismissal of Ivanović made matters worse as the Serbian lunged into Aleksandar Kolarov and was deservedly shown a red card just before half time.

City's one man advantage told almost immediately in the second half as well. Mancini decided to bring on Gael Clichy for Savic, and in the 53rd minute, Yaya Toure showed why he is such a key player for the Blues as he grabbed an equaliser for City.

It was James Milner who Yaya had to thank for his goal, as the tireless midfielder ran Ashley Cole ragged all afternoon and his cross into the area was cleared by John Terry. However, like Kompany's in the first half, it was a poor clearance, and found Yaya Toure on the edge of the area. The Ivorian made no mistake as he struck the ball into the bottom corner, giving Cech no chance. 

And from this point City really started to show their class as they pushed Chelsea aside with ease in twelve minutes. 

Tevez puts City ahead with a terrific strike
Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Europe

After Yaya Toure put the Blues level, it was time for Carlos Tevez to step up as his curling effort in the 58th minute was a strike of world class quality, and is another good sign that Tevez is like a brand new signing. He looks leaner, sharper, and most importantly, more motivated to give his all for the club.

With Chelsea now behind, they were falling to pieces, and City exploited their defensive frailties once again minutes later as a superb cross by Kolarov was met by Nasri on the half volley, and all but secured another trophy for the Blues. 

There was enough time for Chelsea to grab a consolation, as substitute Ryan Bertrand pounced upon a mistake by Pantilimon as he parried the ball straight into the feet of the young Englishman, but it was not to be enough as City held on comfortably to produce a psychological boost ahead of the new season.

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2012

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