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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
With Monday’s impressive win, Chelsea are now within two points of No. 1 Arsenal and have matched City with 53 points.
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.