Manchester City 2 Chelsea 0 match report: Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri grab the reins to lead City gallop

Pellegrini’s men make smart response to rival’s jibes as they leave Mourinho with a long face

Etihad Stadium

The debate, initiated by Jose Mourinho last week, was all about what kind of horses the clubs jostling for the championship were. Manchester City were “the rich horse”, Chelsea were, in the improbable words of their manager, “the little white horse”. Brendan Rodgers retorted that his Liverpool side were “the foal”.

In terms of the FA Cup, Chelsea are the Galloway pony that used to roam southern Scotland. They are extinct.

Manuel Pellegrini has grown weary of Mourinho's jibes, arguing that he would prefer his team to talk for him. This performance was more eloquent than Manchester City's manager could ever be. Their goals, from Stevan Jovetic and Samir Nasri, were superbly crafted; a vulnerable defence was never seriously threatened.

The teams were as strong as expected. Barcelona may be coming to Manchester, but there were few concessions to future contests.

As his team waited for the 1974 FA Cup final to kick off, Bill Shankly pinned up an article by Malcolm Macdonald boasting how the Newcastle striker would tear Liverpool apart. "There is no need to say anything, lads," said Shankly. "It's all been said." Here, too, much had been said, mostly by Mourinho.

Afterwards, the Chelsea manager was unusually downbeat, afflicted by a rare dose of humility: "City played much better than us and deserved to win," he reflected. "When the best team wins, I think football is at peace."

This was the reverse of the League game in that Pellegrini's hunches worked and Mourinho's did not. James Milner was stationed on the right flank with possibly the most difficult brief on the pitch: to keep Eden Hazard in check.

A lot of what the Chelsea manager says is like the ticker tape that floated in the wind during the tribute to Sir Tom Finney – insubstantial and designed just to catch the eye. But his assertion that Hazard was the "best young player in the world" looks as if it might have substance. The moments when he ran at the City defence were the only ones in which there was a sense of electricity about Chelsea's play.

During the interval Mourinho decided to bring off Samuel Eto'o for his newest acquisition, Mohamed Salah. It was an admission that his tactics had been toothless, although afterwards he refused to explain the reasoning behind it.

City's 1-0 defeat by Chelsea in the League had exposed Pellegrini's experiment of employing Martin Demichelis as a makeshift midfielder for the flimsy idea it was. With Fernandinho still unfit, Pellegrini deployed Yaya Touré alongside Javi Garcia to screen the back four.

The big Ivorian is, however, happiest marauding forward, preferably in a big game. It was Touré's opening shot that suggested how this tie might pan out. He chested the ball down before muscling his way past Nemanja Matic, and when his drive spilled out of Petr Cech's gloves Jov-etic reacted faster than Gary Cahill. But his flick struck the intersection of bar and post, and the striker flung his hands to his mouth in shock.

Moments later, his fingers were pressed to his lips to silence the raucous contingent who had travelled up from London. It was a beautifully worked goal, featuring interplay from David Silva and Edin Dzeko. Too late, Cesar Azpilicueta moved across to block Jovetic's shot.

After the goalless draw at Norwich that had taken City's total of dropped points to five in a week, Pellegrini had surveyed his list of injured and not fully-fit forwards and remarked: "It is time for Stevan Jovetic". That time was about 5.32pm on a windswept Saturday evening.

A little over an hour later and Chelsea's time was up. As it had been for the opening goal, the passing was too good. Here it was between Silva and Nasri and it opened up an inadequate back four. Silva's pass cut through the screening defenders and the boy from Marseilles severed Chelsea's connection to this season's FA Cup.

As the game died, the stadium began filling with abuse for Mourinho. It will not, however, be the last word between these clubs.

Line-ups:

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Touré, Garcia; Milner, Jovetic (Nasri, 61), Silva (Navas, 69); Dzeko (Negredo, 81).

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Ramires (Torres, 61), Willian (Oscar, 71), Hazard; Eto’o (Salah, h-t).

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Man of the match: Touré (Manchester City)

Match rating: 7/10

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?