Chelsea vs Manchester City match report: Frank Lampard's return proves a non-starter but Blues nearly come undone to battling City

Chelsea 1 Manchester City 1: David Silva's goal swung the momentum in the visitors favour and they were unlucky not to find a late winner

Frank Lampard shared a joke with the Chelsea bench, he even managed to persuade a reluctant Jose Mourinho to shake hands with him beforehand and then, with 13 minutes left of the match he came on and Stamford Bridge prepared to have their hearts broken all over again.

Not this time for Lampard, not even for the man who has scored more times for Chelsea than any other in their history. Over 13 years he scored all kinds of goals at Stamford Bridge, in all kinds of games but in this, surely his last outing at the club that has defined his career, he did not add the postscript that Manuel Pellegrini will have hoped for.

When he came on at last there was some booing from the home fans but it was easily drowned out by clapping and cheers, and - one notable felt-pen and cardboard anti-Lampard placard aside - that was the mood. “The Chelsea fans showed complete class at the end,” Lampard said later. “I enjoyed this.”

The gap at the top of the table between the leaders Chelsea, and Manchester City in second place remains five points. It was City who looked the most likely to score in the second half having equalised through David Silva soon after Loic Remy’s opening goal, and it was them who pushed the most in those closing minutes.

 

For much of the second half, there was a risk averse mood to the game until in the closing stages Pellegrini seemed to sense that the energy Chelsea had expended mid-week against Liverpool was telling. He sent on Lampard first, then Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic while Mourinho’s substitutions were much more with containment in mind.

At the final whistle, Mourinho punched the air, a clear indication of his feelings at securing a point with a team that was without the suspended Diego Costa and the injured Cesc Fabregas. The Chelsea manager boycotted his post-match press conference and sent none of his staff either, the blue swivel chair sitting empty. There will be a fine from the Premier League but that seems the least of his worries.

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Frank Lampard applauds the Chelsea fans as well as the Manchester City supporters

There were strong performances on both sides, notably Nemanja Matic and Fernandinho, although it came to a close with neither side really creating the second half chance that might have won the game. Lampard, speaking afterwards, said that it was a better result for his former club.

“There were more chances for City in the game,” he said. “Chelsea had a big old game in midweek and the draw probably suits them in the long run… we know what that lead is. But there are lots of points to play for.”

Pellegrini weighed his words more carefully but there was no doubt that he believed his team were the more attacking. “I don't know what happened with Chelsea, from the first minute we came for the three points.” Later he added: “I think both teams have a clear style of play. Everyone wants to play in the way they think is better. He [Mourinho] has a style. You analyse the style of Chelsea. I analyse just the style of my team.”

Chelsea already had the door half open on 41 minutes when Eden Hazard crossed from the left side having been picked out by Branislav Ivanovic’s left-footed ball from the right that the winger slotted across the box. Running towards his own goal, Vincent Kompany could have got there first but perhaps sensing that any touch might have deflected it past Joe Hart he decided against extending his legs and, coming in behind, Remy scored easily.

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Remy scores to put Chelsea ahead

Until then Chelsea had seen less of the ball in attacking positions than the visitors and at times felt hemmed in. Yet Mourinho’s teams are generally comfortable on the back foot and although there were some close shaves it also felt like they were biding their time to break out.

Sergio Aguero should have scored on 32 minutes when a ball from very deep from Kompany caught out John Terry who turned towards his own goal, stretched and missed it. Coming from the right channel, the Argentine shot wide. Minutes earlier, Hazard left a ball on the edge of the area for Oscar but his shot was lame.

The goal from Remy, in the side in place of Costa, was the swift switch of play from one wing to another that Chelsea had been looking for all half. But they were not on top for long. In the final minute of the first 45, Bacary Sagna won the ball and played it wide for Jesus Navas. He crossed to the centre of the area where Thibaut Courtois should have taken the ball easily.

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Courtois should have taken the cross before Silva's goal

For reasons that were hard to discern, the Belgian goalkeeper, usually so composed in his decision making, essayed a risky punch that spun wildly off his knuckles and landed in the path of the most dangerous striker on the pitch. Aguero’s shot was drilled low. Silva was lurking in the area and guided the ball in past the defenders on the line.

Fitfully, Mourinho burst into outrage on the touchline but Mark Clattenburg handled him well – the patient dismay of a teacher dealing with an unusually difficult pupil. Through all the bravado, the Chelsea manager was delighted with a point.

Salah’s loan move to Fiorentina hangs in the balance

Mohamed Salah’s loan move to Fiorentina hangs in the balance with Egyptian winger by no means sold on the idea and present at Stamford Bridge today with the rest of the non-playing squad members behind the home team benches.

If Salah was to leave as part of the £23.3m deal for Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina, then he could yet be replaced in the first team squad by the Brazilian Douglas Costa, from Shakhtar Donestk, who the club have looked at extensively. Chelsea fully expect the deal for Cuadrado to be done in time for the Monday night deadline.

Sam Wallace

Line-ups:

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Matic; Willian (Droba, 80), Oscar (Loftus-Cheek, 90), Hazard; Remy (Cahill, 87).

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Sagna, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Fernando, Fernandinho (Lampard, 77); Navas, Silva (Jovetic, 89), Milner; Aguero (Dzeko, 84).

Referee: M Clattenburg

Man of the match: Matic (Chelsea)

Match Rating: 6

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