Manchester City vs. Chelsea: Citizens Make Statement with Comeback Win
After stuttering a little in the last few games—getting knocked out of the Europa League to Sporting Lisbon and losing to Swansea City to give Manchester United the league lead—Manchester City really needed a win.
The side went out and dominated Chelsea at home, yet still had to come back from behind to grab three very important points in the Premier League title race.
Manchester City's win showed just how far this team has come and proves their championship credentials. The manager made some great substitutions and the players produced. Even the fans finally created the atmosphere that the team needed to push on for the win.
The game itself was a mostly nervous affair for Manchester City fans and players alike, and the relief and joy after the win was clear to all.
Manchester City's statistics—60 percent possession, 21 shots and 11 corners to Chelsea's 40 percent, seven shots and four corners—don't tell the whole story.
The stadium was filled with the occasional frustrated shout in the first half as Manchester came close on one or two occasions but failed to deliver.
Chelsea was well organized in defense and City could not find a way through. Then came halftime and Roberto Mancini's decision to replace Mario Balotelli with Gareth Barry. This spectator was certainly bemused and that reaction may have been similar among others.
Putting Barry in proved to a great move, as he provided the Manchester City midfield with another possession player that helped the team squeeze the noose even tighter on Chelsea as the game went on.
Will Manchester City win the title?
After going through the first half without gaining a significant advantage in the goal category and with the fans restfulness looking likely to create a negative scenario, Manchester City could have wilted.
When Gary Cahill scored of a deflected shot in the 60th minute, it looked like it would be one of those days for the club. Days where championships were lost and not won.
Instead, the team responded with gusto and continued to dominate the match. Then came the return of Carlos Tevez. After several months without playing, one had to be unsure of how effective he could really be in such a situation.
City's pressure eventually paid off when Michael Essien illegally blocked Pablo Zabaleta's effort inside the box for a penalty. Up steps Sergio Aguero and 1-1 was the scoreline.
Tevez had a bit of a fairytale moment when, after a pretty piece of play and a nifty move, he sent Samir Nasri through on goal and the Frenchman coolly chipped the ball of Petr Cech with little room to work with.
Manchester City showed true championship mentality with the way the came back into the game. The team did not give up even after everything seemed to be going against them.
Roberto Mancini did everything right in the end, Sergio Aguero stepped up and showed some composure at the penalty spot, Samir Nasri scored a game-winning goal and was class throughout while Barry's contribution can't be understated.
Manchester City must ensure they beat Stoke City this weekend to really make things interesting for their rivals. After this victory, City should certainly have the confidence to carry themselves to a win at the Britannia Stadium.
This win will go down as an important landmark for the club's season should they end up winning the title. It was certainly a statement game for Manchester City and showed just how far they have come.
If they win the title, they can look back on this game as the moment when they proved to everyone that they can be champions.
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