Manchester City 0 Chelsea 2: City Dunne and dusted by Chelsea

Own goal helps Londoners keep up pressure on Manchester United as Eriksson's team look forward to end of season

Chelsea have five matches to catch Manchester United at the top of the Premier League, and if they are all as easy as this they will have every chance of succeeding. This makes it eightgoals for and none conceded against Manchester City this season; who needs friends with opponents like these?

This was a stroll on a cool but sunny afternoon for Avram Grant's team against a City side who have won one match in their last seven and who, apart from a 15-minute spell before half-time, looked like they cannot wait for the season to end. Slow, sloppy and dull, just about the only imagination anyone with Sky Blue affiliation showed came from the announcer on the public address system, who billed the start of the second half as "the push for Europe". Push for mid-table mediocrity more like.

City gave the visitors a goal start when Richard Dunne put through his own goal after six minutes, and although Michael Johnson had a shot cleared off the line they never seriously suggested they would discomfort Chelsea. Instead the visitors made the points safe when Salomon Kalou dribbled round Joe Hart in the 53rd minute.

The romp pushes Chelsea, who rested Ricardo Carvalho, Claude Makelele and Didier Drogba, to two points behind United, who face Middlesbrough this afternoon, and ensured they will go into Tuesday's Champions' League quarter-final second leg against Fenerbahce with two prizes very much in mind.

"Now we have to hope for a good result at Middlesbrough," Grant said. "I never know whether it's better to play first or second but I know it's always best to play first and win."

The City manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, also struck a positive note. "I'm less depressed than I was a week ago," he said, referring to the lame 3-1 defeat at Birmingham City. "It was impor-tant for the players to know they can play good football against a team like Chelsea."

City lost 6-0 at Stamford Bride in October so the portents were not good, and they looked even less promising after six minutes. They had endured almost unceasing Chelsea possession without alarm when Michael Essien moved forward and then passed to Nicolas Anelka on the right. Even then, there seemed little danger from a low cross until Dunne slid in to clear but instead thumped the ball past his own goalkeeper from10 yards.

Chelsea would have taken advantage of more sloppiness in the home rearguard but for two immaculate tackles on Anelka from Nedum Onuoha. It appeared City were dozing their way to another reverse until they woke up after half an hour and could have scored twice. First Juliano Belletti stopped a goal-bound shot from Stephen Ireland, then Ashley Cole cleared off his line from Johnson.

Despite the number of incidents round the goalmouths, the first half had been played at a pedestrian pace, but the introduction of Joe Cole for the disappointing Shaun Wright-Phillips brought an injection of thought if not pace and a notable sense of urgency from Chelsea. Their second goal, after 53 minutes, came almost immediately after the substitution when Essien placed a clever through- pass that deflected off Dunne into the path of Kalou. The Ivory Coast striker coolly went round Hart and rolled the ball intothe net.

Suddenly the shackles were off Chelsea and they could have scored twice more within two minutes. First Hart flicked the ball away from Anelka's feet as he bore down on goal, then the City goalkeeper tipped Anelka's header on to the bar and recovered well to scoop away from his line when the ball hit his back.

After that Chelsea could ease up with Fenerbahce in mind, secure that the gauntlet has been thrown in the champions' direction. Who will win the title? The answer from the City manager was unexpected. "If I had a £10 bet," Eriksson said, "it would be on United."

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little