Manchester City and Chelsea have played out an enthralling 4-all draw at Stamford Bridge. The game highlighted everything that makes the Premier League what it is as both sides played for the win.
A pair of familiar faces both did their bit for Chelsea to bite their former club. Raheem Sterling scored one and gave Kyle Walker a torrid time while Cole Palmer equalised for Chelsea deep into second-half stoppage time to earn his side a point. For the champions, it was a rare off day for many of their most reliable players.
The game kicked off after an impeccably observed ceremony for Remembrance Sunday. It would be the only moment of pause before the pulsating contest that followed.
The game kicked off with Chelsea beginning the opening stages well. Mauricio Pochettino’s side looked well up for the challenge in front of them posed by the Premier League leaders. After a lively start, the game sparked into life in the 20th minute.
A Bernardo Silva cross saw Erling Haaland brought down by Marc Cucurella. After a lengthy VAR check, the penalty decision stood. City’s number 9 converted cooly to give the visitors the lead.
Chelsea roared into life after Haaland’s goal. They equalised 4 minutes later through a quality header from Thiago Silva. The Brazilian defender expertly steered his header past Ederson to equalise.
It would get better for Chelsea only 8 minutes later. A mistake by Ruben Dias in midfield gave the hosts possession. They surged forward and Reece James capitalised on a Josko Gvardiol error to put the ball on a plate for Raheem Sterling to tap in. Kyle Walker was guilty of losing his former teammate to allow him the simplest task to give Chelsea the lead.
Both sides continued to attack and it would be City who’d score just before half-time to make it 2-all. The champions had a corner that was played short to Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese midfielder was left in acres of space to provide a cross for the unmarked Manuel Akanji to head home. The 2-all half-time scoreline properly reflected an end-to-end encounter.
After the halftime break gave everyone a chance to catch their breath the second half picked up just where the first half ended.
Manchester City landed the first punch of the second half in the 47th minute with a sweeping counter allowing Erling Haaland to bundle the ball home to make it 3-2 City. Some quality passing from Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez was the highlight of a quality counterattack.
Both sides continued to take the game to each other with chances created for both sides.
Chelsea would have their third of the night in the 67th minute. Ederson could only parry a rasping Conor Gallagher shot into the path of Nicolas Jackson who tapped in his fourth goal of the week to make it 3-all.
From that moment on both sides pressed forward for a winner. The 58th-minute introduction of Jack Grealish had given Pep Guardiola’s side more control but Chelsea’s pace up front was causing issues for City.
City looked like they had stolen the three points with a rocket from Rodri was deflected in off Thiago Silva to give his side a 4-3 lead in the 86th minute. With 8 minutes of injury time given the question was could City hold onto their lead?
The answer would be no as a Chelsea attack in second-half stoppage time resulted in a penalty for the hosts. Ruben Dias brought down substitute Armando Broja which gave Cole Palmer the chance to equalise against his former club.
The former City man cooly converted his penalty to make it 4-all. As the final whistle sounded the result was a fair one given the balance of play. The game was the perfect advertisement for the Premier League and will go down as an instant classic.
Manchester City keep top spot on the table with a one-point lead over Liverpool and Arsenal. With the international break now upon us the performance of several of City’s key players will give Pep Guardiola food for thought.
Following the international break, the European champions will host Liverpool at the Etihad.