Chelsea Complacent and Undisciplined in Loss to Manchester City
There were a lot of subplots leading up to today's Chelsea and Manchester City match from Eastlands.
This was the match of Chelsea v.2009 versus Chelsea v.2003, the Moneybags Derby. Chelsea coming off five league wins on the trot while City had drawn a record seven-consecutive times. This was to be where Chelsea show the pretenders they were just that.
Carlo Ancelotti's men must have read the papers, because they played like the three points had been secured before the first touch.
A scurry in front of City's goal that led to an Emmanuel Adebayor own goal only seven minutes in only further caused the arrogance to ooze from Chelsea.
The tide quickly turned in City's favor and they dominated possession in the final 15 minutes of the half. Chelsea were lucky to go to the break at only 1-1 but the breather didn't do any good. City picked up in the second half right where they left off.
Chelsea seemed desperate to change the way of the game. Ambitious tackles never materialized and it showed. Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Juliano Belletti and Deco were all shown yellow.
The desperation was evident in passing and attempts at goal as well. Deco attempted to recreate the cheeky backheel that left Didier Drogba in space just outside the 18 on multiple occasions throughout the evening. None were as effective as his first. Most resulted in a loss of possession.
Anelka had a handful of chances which resulted in blocked shots or attempts off target or embarrassingly lacking pace.
A change of pace was needed. Michael Ballack had been non-existent in the midfield and Deco had difficulty directing traffic.
But Chelsea's card trouble meant that Carvalho had to come out with Ballack. John Obi Mikel and Belletti were introduced. A late injury to John Terry saw him replaced by Florent Malouda and a massive reshuffle in the midfield and back line.
It didn't help.
Petr Cech looked as shaky as he ever has in his career. Hesitant to catch a corner, Cech's punch came back to haunt him when Adebayor leveled in the 37th minute. He guessed wrong on a Carlos Tevez winning free kick in the 56th that eventually found its way through the wall to a place near where Cech originally stood.
There will be some that say referee Howard Webb hindered Chelsea's ability to win balls in the midfield and blew a few calls. There might be something to that, but Chelsea lost this game more than Webb gave it away.
Webb had no choice but to give a penalty to Chelsea when Drogba was taken down by Nedum Onuoha in the area. An attempt by Frank Lampard to the lower left lacked pace and Shay Given was able to parry to safety.
Chelsea will recover, this is a very stable side under Ancelotti. But two losses on the trot and seeing Manchester United move within two points of the leaders should put some pressure on the Londoners.
It might be a good thing, there didn't seem to be much of it on the Blues' shoulders today. And it didn't suit them well.
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