A top-of-the-table clash between Chelsea and Manchester City ended in a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.
The overall game was uninspiring with only 8 shots on target for both sides, and few clear cut chances for any strikers. It was a difficult game to maintain concentration, as both teams were especially cautious in the first half.
The best chance fell to Argentinian Aguero, who could only head the ball into the arms of the grateful Petr Cech. Two feet either side of the Chelsea stopper and Aguero would have surely won the game.
Man City were arguably the better side, especially on paper as the visitors had more chances and possession: 54% to Chelsea’s 46%.
It was City’s defence that was particularly impressive today, as Kompany coped with every long ball and cross that was hit in towards Fernando Torres. Zabaleta and Kolarov were impressive as usual, supporting the attack in wide positions which pushed back Chelsea’s wide players, stifling the Blues attacking impetus.
- Cech – 8.
The stand in Captain arguably kept Chelsea in the game today, as he made several smart saves to deny efforts from Zabaleta, Aguero and Yaya Toure. His performances of late prove he deserves the armband in the absence of John Terry.
- Azpilicueta – 6.
Pacey and intelligent, the young Spanish right back has a promising career at the bridge, but it seems as if he is still adapting to the urgency of the English game. He lacks the physical presence Ivanovic provides in this position.
- Ivanovic – 7.
In my opinion he is better at right back. His crossing and physicality make him difficult for opposition full backs to deal with; but he did a solid job at centre back today, comfortably protecting his goal from corners and crosses with his aerial ability.
- David Luiz – 7.
David Luiz is not your average centre back, but his distribution can open doors for the offence. He likes to thread long balls out to the wings and his link play with Cole when he got forward created opportunities. Luiz also gave the ball away on several occasions, which he got away with today as City failed to capitalise on their chances. Luiz threatened the City goal from a corner and recorded a shot on target from a long-range free kick.
- Cole – 7.
Cole was very forward thinking today, getting into attacking positions whenever he could, providing crosses and shots at goal forcing a smart save from Joe Hart on one occasion. With a clearance off the line and a solid defensive performance Cole was a close second to Petr Cech for Chelsea’s best player today.
- Mikel – 5.
Mikel on his day can be a solid central midfielder. Today, the game was played around him. City’s width and attacking speed left Mikel behind as he failed on several occasions to put out the fires they were trying to ignite. However he was solid on set plays and protected his box well on these occasions.
- Ramirez – 8.
Ramirez, as usual, was relentless in the middle of the field. He uses his pace and surprising strength to chase down opponents and make important tackles. His energy allows him then to join in attacking moves and is often a threat going forward, as he was today, but could not convert his chances.
- Mata – 6.
Mata, though usually capable of carving defences open with his passing ability, struggled today against Man City’s well-oiled machine and couldn’t impact the game as he would normally like.
- Oscar – 6.
Oscar, though proving his touch, crafty footwork and passing ability are the skills that arguably brought him to the Premier League, he was overshadowed by a powerful City defensive unit and couldn’t out-think the brawn of Kompany and Nastasic
- Hazard – 6.
Hazard, was fast, smart, and threatening down the left, but just couldn’t quite crack open the City safe. When Zabaleta got forward Hazard did an excellent job of tracking back on occasions and this will have pleased newly appointed Benitez.
- Torres – 5.
Torres struggled again this afternoon. Though he was eager to get on the ball, chasing down loose ends and making tackles, his finishing let him down, as he failed to make the most of the few chances he had, striking over the bar when he should have made the opposition keeper work. Kompany showed his proficiency at the back today. He was stronger than Torres on every one-on-one, winning headers and staying one step ahead of the Chelsea striker on all occasions.
Subs: Moses – 5.
Moses has proved to be a powerful sub in recent weeks, coming off the bench to score in the Champions League and in the Premier League. Today however, he struggled to impact the game any better than the rest of Chelsea’s front line.
Romeu – 5.
The young Spaniard came on in the 79th minute for Mikel, but operating in the same role, he made no impact on the game and still has a lot to learn about top flight football.