Premier League

December 12, 2011



2 - 1

Manchester City

Premier League

20:00 +00:00, December 12, 2011

Stamford Bridge, England

Referee: Mark Clattenburg


    Thank you for your company this evening. Stay with us for post-match reaction. I've been James Dall. Cheerio.


    Manchester City lose for the first time in the Premier League this season. It is a huge result for Chelsea, and their manager Andre Villas-Boas. Balotelli had given City the lead in the second minute before Meireles levelled following fine work from Sturridge. Then Clichy received a second yellow in the second period to make it an uphill task for the visitors, and Chelsea duly struck, with Lampard coming off the bench to fire in a penalty.


    FULL-TIME: Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City

  • 90'

    Mario fouls, and that, as they say, should be that.

  • 90'

    Mancini cutting a frustrated figure...

  • 90'

    Chelsea keeping it nicely...

  • 90'

    Drogba rolls two men with wonderful skill and then tries an audacious strike from miles out. Goal kick.

  • 90'

    Yaya Toure commits a foul. Still no yellow for him, somehow.

  • 90'

    Four minutes of added time to be played.

  • 90'

    Chelsea win a corner, and then another. They are playing this well.

  • 90'

    Chelsea holding the ball up well now. Winning free-kicks to ebb away the time.

  • 89'

    Sturridge, the assister of the leveller, is replaced by Mikel.

  • 88'

    Milner hangs over a free-kick but Balotelli can't get there, seemingly ducking. Goal kick.

  • 87'

    Brilliant skill from Balotelli in the corner to win a free-kick. Half-chance here...

  • 86'

    Dzeko is on for Lescott.

  • 85'

    Need to see more of the 'handball'. Lescott's hand looked raised, but whether there was any intent is the subject of conjecture.

  • 84'

    Mata is off for Malouda.

  • 83'

    Lampard smashes it. Absolutely tonks it. Hart dove, but the ball was sent into the centre. Frank wheels away, jubilant. 2-1 to Chelsea against 10-man City. Is the unbeaten run over?

  • 83'

    GOAL!!! Lampard scores for Chelsea!

  • 82'

    Sturridge came inside on his left and banged one. Lescott had his hand raised and the ball struck it. Penalty.

  • 82'


  • 81'

    A shot! But it is a tame one. Drogba plays it back to Ramires, who toes a shot goalwards. It is weak. Hart is there. Easy.

  • 80'

    It's not the best in terms of quality out there. Many stoppages. 'Bitty' comes to mind.

  • 79'

    Drogba booked. He went in rashly on this skiddy surface and was rightly carded.

  • 78'

    AVB is urging for tempo. He knows this is there for the winning, but Chelsea have not created much of note in this half.

  • 77'

    Villas-Boas is as animated as ever on the touchline, stretching those quads as he squats furiously.

  • 76'

    De Jong is coming on, replacing Silva. That's City settling for a draw then.

  • 75'

    Ramires is next to be booked after swinging through on Balotelli.

  • 74'

    Ashley Cole has a chance to feed in a dangerous cross, but the execution is heavy and escapes his team-mates.

  • 73'

    Commentator's curse: here comes Lampard. The midfielder comes on for Meireles.

  • 72'

    Lampard and Torres undoubtedly itching to come on. No movement from AVB on that front yet.

  • 71'

    Balotelli buys a free-kick to relieve some of the pressure mounting on City.

  • 70'

    Some sustained possession for City almost sees them work an angle, but the ball is squeezed away. Chelsea look to counter but City are back swiftly.

  • 69'

    Yaya Toure passes to Kolo Toure. You heard it here first.

  • 68'

    City break clear for the first time in a while. Silva picks out Balotelli, who tries his luck from distance. It is rather tame and Cech is there to smother.

  • 67'

    Wicked cross by Bosingwa from the right. But the delivery evades everyone.

  • 66'

    Dreadful free-kick in by Mata sees a chance to test this new-look back four go to waste.

  • 65'

    I was wrong. Zabaleta is left back, Kolo Toure right back.

  • 64'

    Aguero is forced off following Clichy's red and Kolo Toure comes on. Presumably Lescott will go left back.

  • 63'

    Romeu is in the book. He went in a little boldly on Balotelli.

  • 62'

    Romeu is bullish. He wins the ball well and keeps it neat. Better than Mikel.

  • 61'

    City still enjoying more of the ball, in spite of their numerical disadvantage. This is surely there for the winning now for Chelsea, which would be a huge fillip for AVB.

  • 60'

    Clichy will miss the Arsenal game, then?

  • 59'

    Ooof. Ramries bombs on, as he has done so well this match, and Clichy hangs out a leg. He fells the Brazilian and Clattenburg has no choice but to dish out the second yellow.

  • 58'

    Clichy is off!

  • 57'

    Still a long while to go, but a draw enough for Chelsea? Fine by City, you would think, but not enough for Chelsea considering their plight.

  • 56'

    Think Ramires is winded. Should be all right in a moment.

  • 55'

    Ramries is down in a heap. Meanwhile, Mata's influence is growing.

  • 54'

    Drogba has a face like thunder. Not sure why. The weather, maybe?

  • 53'

    Sumptuous skill from Mata gets the home fans on their feet, but Kompany brings the move to an end with a foul. Chelsea want a second yellow, but it doesn't come.

  • 52'

    Worth noting, and it is a point that keeps being revisited, that Ivanovic made a last-gasp attempt to deny Balotelli for the opener. Had the Italian gone down, it surely would have been a red card.

  • 51'

    Toure is being rather naughty in this game. Replays show he attempted to rake down the back of Ramires' calf. The ref didn't see it.

  • 50'

    City are indeed struggling now Chelsea are dropping off more.

  • 49'

    Sturridge is the man at the moment. With Clichy on a booking, expect plenty more direct running from the England international.

  • 48'

    Ah! Horrific marking from City as a free-kick finds Sturridge free. He cracks one but the ball is always rising and flashes just over.

  • 47'

    Clichy is booked for pulling back Sturridge, who demonstrated a fine burst, not for the first time in this game.

  • 46'

    KICK-OFF: Chelsea get the second half started.


    Did you know you can get in contact with me with your thoughts on this match via JamesDallESPN? You do now.


    Replays being shown of the Bosingwa challenge on Silva in the box. Looks a stick-on penalty having seen a new angle of it now. Chelsea got away with one there. Still waiting to see some more on the Toure hand flick at Mata. Looked a red card offence on first viewing.


    An absorbing half played in testing conditions. Balotelli broke the deadlock after two minutes, as City tore Chelsea apart on numerous occasions. Chelsea rallied, though, and ex-City boy Sturridge's good work fed Meireles to restore parity. Since then, Chelsea have defended well and City's passing has been sloppy.


    HALF-TIME: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City

  • 45'

    Balotelli teases in a cross, and Aguero gets a toe on the ball. Terry had flung himself at the effort and I think that did enough to put off the Argentine, as the shot was tepid.

  • 45'

    Meireles goes in lazily on Toure. Needs to be careful.

  • 45'

    Two minutes of added time will be played.

  • 45'

    City's passing has gone to pot. Mancini will look forward to half-time.

  • 44'

    Chelsea's shape has vastly improved. City have probed for space of the past ten minutes, but cannot find it. AVB will be a happier bunny.

  • 43'

    Ramires gives Chelsea that Essien-esque surge, you know? His running with the ball can be very troublesome for the opposition.

  • 42'

    Kompany is booked after a clumsy challenge on Drogba, which saw him wipe out the Ivorian as they clattered together.

  • 40'

    Chelsea crowd are furious about something, think it was perhaps due to a Milner handball and then the midfielder kicking the ball away. No card for the England man.

  • 39'

    They've played some really lovely stuff tonight, have City. The passing, at times, has been crisp and efficient. There are goals in this team, but they do concede.

  • 38'

    Silva dinks in a high ball but Lescott is well marked and the pass drops out of play for a goal kick.

  • 37'

    Chelsea now operating deeper and more compact, maybe how they should have been in the opening stages.

  • 36'

    Meireles is the first into the referee's notebook after he raked his studs into the shin of Zabaleta.

  • 35'

    Well played Sturridge. The forward beats Clichy with some fleeting footwork and then hammers in a cross. Meireles is there to meet it, thundering into the net from close range.

  • 35'

    GOAL!!! Meireles scores for Chelsea!

  • 34'

    Ramires shows off his pace and power with a surging run, but he can't complement the bombing on with a pass, as his ball to Drogba is a little loose.

  • 32'

    Couple of wasteful long balls from City just now. Kompany the latest to hit one aimlessly.

  • 31'

    Silva now receiving treatment after Meireles caught the Spaniard. Villas-Boas, looking wind-swept, is giving Mata some instructions.

  • 30'

    Drogba is back on, but hobbling about. He should be ok, my intuition tells me.

  • 29'

    Drogba appears to have twanged something when shooting just then. Torres, anyone?

  • 28'

    Drogba is found following a cheeky backheel from Meireles, but the Ivorian opts to shoot from some distance and the effort bobbles out harmlessly.

  • 27'

    Meireles searches out Sturridge, who looks to turn, but Clichy is swiftly in on him to tackle and dispossess.

  • 26'

    The ball is swung in by Mata, but City are commanding and deal with the delivery.

  • 25'

    Corner to Chelsea as Drogba's shot at the near post is parried away by Hart.

  • 24'

    Still no replay of the Toure incident.

  • 23'

    It's not quite as open as it was ten minutes ago. As I type, Milner breaks through but the angle does not favour him and he is forced to dig out a cross, which comes to nothing.

  • 22'

    City now enjoying more of the ball, patient to wait for the chance to thread in a through ball.

  • 21'

    I need to see a replay, but it seems Toure just flung a hand at Mata's face.

  • 20'

    Clichy whips in a teasing cross and Balotelli looks to divert it home, but the Italian cannot quite get there as Cole does enough to shepherd the ball away.

  • 19'

    Just on the Silva penalty claim; it was one of those where there appeared to be no contact, yet there would have been had Silva not hurdled the challenge from Bosingwa.

  • 18'

    Chelsea have had 63% of the ball possession so far, but much of that has been between their back four.

  • 17'

    Now it is Chelsea's turn to attack. This is rather breathless.

  • 16'

    Mario Balotelli wants to take a free-kick. He is allowed to do so. It is about 35 yards out, but he shoots. It goes way over. Way, way over.

  • 15'

    That was a golden chance for Silva, who should arguably have shot rather than dummied.

  • 14'

    What a move. City are turning it on. The ball, after a succession of wonderful passes, is passed to Silva, who drops a shoulder. Bosingwa goes in clumsily and may have caught the Spaniard, who tumbles in the box. No penalty given.

  • 13'

    City are pressing ever so well, working very hard indeed when not in possession.

  • 12'

    Oooo. City almost go 2-0 up. Aguero latches onto some more sloppy play from Chelsea. He wriggles away from two challenges and then fires a low shot the wrong side of the near post.

  • 11'

    Corner to Chelsea after Meireles' strike is deflected over. The corner is played short, then clipped in, but City defend well.

  • 10'

    Mata has a chance to find a team-mate with a cross but his effort is nodded clear by Kompany.

  • 9'

    Mata has a chance to curl a pass into Drogba, but he chooses the wrong option, instead hitting long to Ramires, who fouls.

  • 8'

    Romeu is guilty of a very loose pass and City almost pounce, but Terry, who was suspect for the opening goal, shuts the door.

  • 7'

    I've said it already, but I will say it again, the rain is hammering down. Greasy.

  • 6'

    Home side looking to get a foothold on this game. City are hustling them well. Chelsea do appear to be playing that high line again, which is risky.

  • 5'

    City work it well down the left flank, but Clichy is flagged for offside. The home fans are stunned.

  • 4'

    Chelsea look to respond and Meireles leads the charge. He has Cole to his left but opts to shoot wildly, his pop flashing well wide.

  • 3'

    He has taken that so well. Aguero spins his man in Chelsea's half and picks out a classy pass that slices open the home side's defence. Balotelli controls and rounds Cech, before tapping in very calmly indeed.

  • 2'

    GOAL!!! Balotelli scores for City!

  • 2'

    High foot from Silva sees an early free-kick awarded. Cole almost went over the halfway line then, our editor John Brewin points out which he hasn't done of late.

  • 1'

    KICK-OFF: Manchester City get us started.


    Teams are in the tunnel! Terry and Kompany the captains. Weather information: it is rotten. It's windy, blowing a a hooley in fact, while the rain is bucketing it down.


    Big night for Romeu, one would think. The boy's shown quality, but against City's midfield, where Silva floats around like a very talented bee, the Spaniard needs to be disciplined.


    David Luiz is suspended, which, if you ask me, is a crying shame. Balotelli does start though, so at least one 'character' is on display. Of course, there has been much licking of the lips over the prospect of Mata v Silva. Both are Spanish. Both are bloody good.


    Team news is in, in fact I've already pasted in the starting XIs - see below. Torres and Lampard are on the bench, which is no longer a story, really, is it? City, meanwhile, go with the same side that gave United a rogering, sans Richards.


    Good evening. How art thou? Big game, this one. It's all about the money. Remember this song? Rubbish, wasn't it. Anyway, here is a preview. Robin Hackett wrote it and it's very good. Read it, then return to this page.


    Manchester City starting XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott Clichy; Toure Yaya, Barry; Milner, Silva, Balotelli; Aguero.


    Chelsea starting XI: Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Romeu, Meireles; Sturridge, Drogba, Mata.


    ESPNsoccernet's James Dall will bring you live minute-by-minute commentary of Chelsea's Premier League meeting with Manchester City, which kicks off at 20.00 GMT. Be there, or be square.