Premier League: Chelsea maintain five-point lead after 1-1 draw with Manchester City
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 01/02/15 1:27pm
Chelsea remain five points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 1-1 draw with second-placed Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
Loic Remy put Chelsea ahead just before half-time from close range after an uneventful opening, but the visitors went into the break level after David Silva turned home Sergio Aguero’s effort.
Chelsea great Frank Lampard made his first appearance back at his old club in the 77th minute, but could not alter the scoreline as both sides cancelled each other out in a nervy encounter.
With Diego Costa suspended, French striker Remy started at Stamford Bridge with Didier Drogba on the bench.
City had the first half-chance through Fernando, whose deflected cross-shot from the right evaded Aguero by a yard.
James Milner, impressive in the first half, then stole the ball from Branislav Ivanovic near the penalty area and played in Aguero, but the Argentine’s effort from an angle was batted clear by Thibaut Courtois.
Aguero had a fine chance to give City a deserved lead after half an hour – put through on goal by a long ball from defence – but his low effort to Courtois’ right dropped a yard wide.
Chelsea broke the deadlock with a fine move after 41 minutes, Ivanovic finding Eden Hazard on the left of the penalty area with a lofted pass before the Belgian’s superb first-time centre was tapped in by Remy from four yards.
But four minutes later City were level. Courtois failed to deal with Jesus Navas’ cross effectively, with the ball falling to Aguero on the edge of the area to volley towards goal before Silva stretched to turn the ball inside the post from close range.
City started the second half brighter, and Courtois was forced into an acrobatic save to tip the ball over the bar from Fernandinho’s header into the ground.
The remainder of the second period saw City probe, but without any clear-cut chances for either side.
Milner lashed a shot wide of Courtois’ goal after being found by Navas, but City failed to cause too many problems in the Chelsea penalty area despite winning eight corners.
Lampard came on with 13 minutes remaining and received a decent reception from the Stamford Bridge crowd, but the hosts were clinging on at the end of the match as City pushed for a winner.
Nothing came, though, and both sides ended the day as they started, with 45 points still up for grabs between now and the end of the season.
Chelsea: Courtois (6), Ivanovic (6), Zouma (7), Terry (6), Azpilicueta (6), Ramires (6), Matic (7), Willian (6), Oscar (6), Hazard (7); Remy (7).
Subs: Cahill (6), Loftus-Cheek (6), Drogba (6)
Manchester City: Hart (6), Sagna (7), Kompany (6), Demichelis (7), Clichy (7), Navas (7), Fernando (6), Fernandinho (7), Milner (8), Silva (7), Aguero (7)
Subs: Lampard (6), Jovetic (6), Dzeko (6)
Man of the match: James Milner