Unbeaten at home, Manchester City were defeated for the first time at Ethiad Stadium in the 2013-14 season, falling to Chelsea 1-0 in Monday’s match. Refusing to park the bus, Jose Mourinho and his squad left Manchester with a big win and a lot to think about moving forward.
Scolari is the last Chelsea manager to have won an away EPL game against Manchester City.— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStats) February 3, 2014
After Chelsea announced that Oscar, Chelsea’s go-to playmaker, would not see action against City, the speculation was that Chelsea would park the bus in an attempt to stave off City’s attacking game.
But Mourinho insisted Chelsea would play the attacking style necessary to take out the League’s No. 2 team, and looking at Monday’s performance, it seems that Mourinho had it right all along.
Early in the match, City dominated play, controlling the ball and putting themselves on the offensive.
Man City controlling the ball in the first twenty minutes. 61% possesion for them.— StreakAdvice.com (@StreakAdvice) February 3, 2014
City were ironically the more offensive team the whole match, taking 20 shots (compared to Chelsea’s 14) and completing more crosses. Ultimately, Chelsea’s more accurate performance in front of the goal and defensive tenacity won out.
FT: Chelsea beat Man City 1-0: defense triumphs over offense. First time in 62 PL matches City fail to score at home. pic.twitter.com/Nx5QOhhaUO— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 3, 2014
The victory for Chelsea was equal parts offensive and defensive, as Mounrinho’s squad effectively neutralized City’s offensive attack while still effectively moving the ball down the field.
Best premier league tactical performance in my memory. Chelsea fantastic defensively and effective on the break. Made the pitch small when— Danny Higginbotham (@Higginbotham05) February 3, 2014
The only goal in the match came from Branislav Ivanovic in the 32nd minute, when the Serbian defender completed a left-footed, 24-yard kick from just outside the box.
The scoreline is perhaps not completely indicative of the match; Chelsea should arguably have won by a larger margin. Shots from Samuel Eto’o, Nemjana Matic and Gary Cahill all came tantalizingly close to distancing Chelsea even further.
Despite the commentary surrounding Mourinho’s lineup before the game, Chelsea’s play spoke for itself on the field.
You don't need to park the bus when you’ve got the coach. One-nil to Mourinho, the master tactician. Hazard/Cahill/Matic+ superb #cfc— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) February 3, 2014
Haven't seen a Mourinho team (in England) flood the opposition half with as many midfielders . The Special One wants a head on a plate.— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) February 3, 2014
Captain John Terry spoke after the match about the psychological aspect of taking out a team of City’s caliber and what that means for the rest of the league.
“They've been phenomenal scoring goals and turning teams over,” Terry told Sky Sports after the game. “It was important not just for us but for other teams, showing that they can be beaten.”
This is how Chelsea FC works. pic.twitter.com/LAyOhNYaeQ— ChelseaArmyCFC (@ChelseaArmyCFC) February 4, 2014
City were missing two key players in Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho, something that Manuel Pellegrini used to deflect the loss after the match.
“We had five or six players (missing) so maybe this defeat doesn't have a bad psychological effect,” Pelligrini said, per the Associated Press (h/t Fox Sports). “I think that for Chelsea it was a decisive game, but not for us.”
Though City have more than proved themselves this season, their lack of adaptability on Monday was their undoing, something that could be problematic going forward.
But it does seem amazing that Pellegrini couldn't problem-solve, and stuck with more or less the same shape throughout - ie, wide open.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) February 3, 2014
With Monday’s impressive win, Chelsea are now within two points of No. 1 Arsenal and have matched City with 53 points.
A very important win against Man City! Thanks for your support! Vitória importantíssima contra o Manchester City! Obrigado pela torcida!— David Luiz (@DavidLuiz_4) February 3, 2014
In the battle of the blues, it was the dark(er) horse who took home the win and made things in the League a little more interesting going forward.