Manchester City maintained their place at the top of the Premier League table after a thrilling draw with Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.
Pep Guardiola’s men travelled to Stamford Bridge in fine form, having won their last five games in all competitions.
A cagey opening 15 minutes saw both sides frustrate each other with no clear-cut chances of note bar Conor Gallagher’s long-range effort which was saved by Ederson.
This changed after Marc Cucurella’s challenge on Erling Haaland with the Spaniard hauling down City’s striker leading to a penalty following a VAR check. Haaland converted the spot kick to not only give his side the lead but also net his first goal against Chelsea who were one of the few teams he failed to score past last season.
The home side levelled shortly after this as Thiago Silva headed in from Gallagher’s corner which was Chelsea’s first goal against City in over 10 hours of football.
Guardiola’s worst nightmare happened as former Cityzen Raheem Sterling put Chelsea in front for the first time in the match. The England international tapped home from close range after the ball was played to him by Reece James with a pinpoint pass.
Haaland tried to respond but despite using his pace to power past Silva, he saw his effort expertly saved by Robert Sanchez.
City did find their equaliser though, as Bernardo Silva received the ball from a short corner and the Portuguese midfielder whipped the ball into the danger area, where leaping highest to meet the delivery was Manuel Akanji, who powered a header past Sanchez to score his second goal in as many Premier League games.
The sides went into the break level following a thoroughly thrilling first-half battle between the players donned in the two blues.
Just 90 seconds into the second-half and City took the lead once more through Haaland, sliding into the net with the ball after a cross-field pass from Julian Alvarez in the box.
Chelsea then equalised later in the half after Gallagher’s shot was parried by Ederson into the path of Nicolas Jackson who converted from close range.
Mateo Kovacic then came on against his former club for the final ten minutes having played for Chelsea for five years before his summer transfer to the Etihad Stadium.
The substitutions revitalised Guardiola’s side and after Kovacic’s shot was blocked, Rodri let loose from distance, seeing his strike deflect off Thiago Silva’s foot and into the net to restore the Sky Blues lead.
Yet another twist came though as Ruben Dias fouled Armando Broja in the box during injury time earning himself a yellow card and resulting in a Chelsea penalty.
Palmer took the spot kick against his former team and celebrated nonchalantly after beating City goalkeeper Ederson.
Neither side could find a winner in what is already a modern Premier League classic which was arguably a fair result given both teams’ entertaining performances.
Here are five things we learned from City’s goal-laden tie at Chelsea.
City comeback kings
There is no team better at fighting until the end than Manchester City who historically have a knack for pulling it out the bag late on.
Despite being penned back consistently throughout Sunday afternoon’s clash, the Treble winners consistently rallied to change their fortunes.
Pep Guardiola’s men may not have won on the day due to the unfortunate penalty but given how Chelsea were playing at times, City could have been quite easily lost at Stamford Bridge.
In an absolute Premier League classic, the Cityzens ensured they were always in the game and survived tough periods
The top of the table is shaping up to be a close run thing so far this season and every point counts so although it was not a win, that fighting mentality will come in handy as the campaign continues.
Poor positional play
Manchester City rarely get it wrong when it comes to tactics or positional play thanks to the genius of manager Pep Guardiola.
They do sometimes have off days and the team’s positional play was poor for Chelsea’s two opening goals.
City allowed Thiago Silva to escape his man as Chelsea took the corner, resulting in him equalising for the home side.
Josko Gvardiol was also uncharacteristically poor with his positioning at left-back in the first half which led to the chance being created for Sterling’s goal.
If City want to go on to win a fourth consecutive Premier League title, they have got to cut these basic mistake out of their game.
Akanji channelling Aguero
Pep Guardiola is already spoilt for choice when it comes to striking options with the likes of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez turning out at the Etihad.
He seems to have found another regular goal getter in recent weeks but one from a surprising position.
Manuel Akanji had already netted two goals in all competitions this season heading into the Stamford Bridge including against Bournemouth in City’s last Premier League game.
This continued as the Swiss defender powered in a header to equalise at the end of the first half.
Having goals come from everyone out on the pitch will definitely help City go the distance in the three competitions again, so Akanji’s new knack of netting is refreshingly useful.
City have THEIR penalty taker
For a long time Manchester City struggled with having a reliable penalty taker who could regularly convert for the team.
After star striker Sergio Aguero’s departure in 2021, this problem became all the more apparent with several players stepping up with varying results.
This has all changed since City signed Erling Haaland in the summer of last year, who has now consistently proved he’s the man to take the spot kicks.
He has scored 13 penalties out of a possible 14 in City colours with his only miss coming last season away to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Against Robert Sanchez on Sunday, he once again converted with ease, reassuring Pep Guardiola that this area of the game is covered.
Porto was personal
Over three years have passed since Chelsea beat Manchester City in the Champions League final hosted in Porto.
Kai Havertz’s goal gave the London side the trophy, causing pain amongst City supporters and players alike.
Clearly the latter took it extremely personally because they have not allowed Chelsea to win against them since, instead beating their opponents at every opportunity.
Pep Guardiola’s side have faced Chelsea six times between that European Cup final and Sunday’s premier league encounter, winning all six games.
This most recent encounter may not have ended as a seventh win but City ensured that their opponents still are without a win since that fateful night in Porto.
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