Frank Lampard broke Chelsea hearts to score late as the points were shared in a hotly-contested match.
The former Chelsea ace, who so often has provided moments of glory for the Blues, was left looking bemused as he refused to celebrate cancelling out Andre Schurrle’s opener.
It means the Blues can only extend their lead at the top to three points instead of five, but a healthy five-point gap over Manchester City will at least improve Chelsea spirits still trying to get over what might have been.
It was a match that, in truth, offered very little. The champions proved worthy of their title with a fast-paced start that saw the possession stats go 79%-to-21% in their favour, and whilst Chelsea have been finding it hard to keep clean sheets this season, they had more than enough about them to cope.
A flurry of first-half yellow cards was Mike Dean’s way of stamping down his authority on the match, and it was inevitable that the match would not finish 11 versus 11. For all those worrying it would be Costa to boil over, it was in fact Zabaleta on Costa himself, and the City right-back was given his marching orders.
As expected, the game really was brought to life, with Chelsea discontent with just settling for the point.
Sagna came on instantly but so did Schurrle, and it was the latter who beat the former moments later. A swift counter-attack saw Hazard on the right, and his exquisite low cross was diverted in by the German.
Could Chelsea grind it out? Re-familiarise themselves with their old friend, the parked bus? Maybe with Lampard in the side, not against.
The 36-year-old did what he so often does, popping in the box to stab home a late equaliser. Manchester City were euphoric, but the Chelsea fans will go home in a mixture of stunned silence and muted applause. The final five minutes need not have been played out; the headline had already been written. It was the most surreal moment.
What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!
Man of the Match
EDEN HAZARD: Where do you start? It would have been Schurrle for his goal, but his marking of Milner after that was hopeless. It would have been John Terry, but he lost Lampard for the equaliser. Fabregas and Costa have been brilliant this season but the former was below-par today and the latter shackled by Mangala and Kompany. It rests with Hazard for a wonderful assist in the Chelsea goal. 6/10
Jose Mourinho was pragmatic: “We scored, we had the game seemingly under control, we hit the post but then they scored. Frank Lampard is a Man City player, he did his job as a professional. I don’t believe in stories of passion and heart… when he decided to go to a direct competitor to Chelsea, then love stories are over. In the end a draw is maybe a fair result.”
Pellegrini was unhappy with Chelsea’s approach: “It is not a result that I want, not what we deserved but the game was very similar to the game against Stoke: they scored a counter attack and they continued to defend until the end. I am very happy with the [different] mentality of our team… it is so important to play like a big team, and not like a small team.”
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