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Manchester City vs Chelsea. Premier League.

Etihad StadiumAttendance53,509.

Manchester City 1

  • Rodri (83rd minute)

Chelsea 1

  • R Sterling (42nd minute)

Man City 1-1 Chelsea: Rodri goal cancels out Raheem Sterling strike but champions lose ground in title race

Report and free match highlights as Raheem Sterling is denied a winner against his former club with Rodri forcing a 1-1 draw for Man City against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium; the results means City are now four points behind leaders Liverpool

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Manchester City and Chelsea.

Rodri's late leveller earned Manchester City a 1-1 draw against Chelsea but the reigning champions lost ground in the Premier League title race.

Raheem Sterling's breakaway goal against his former club had given Mauricio Pochettino's men a deserved lead at the interval and Chelsea had chances to extend their advantage. Erling Haaland spurned a series of opportunities to equalise as City pushed.

But Pep Guardiola's team did find one of the goals they needed with Rodri's left-footed effort deflecting off Trevor Chalobah and into the net. They pushed for the winner, sparking a series of melees in the Chelsea box, but had to settle for the draw in a thrilling game.

Pochettino's team warranted it with their endeavour, the draw lifting them back above Wolves and into the top half of the table. City may rue the dropped points more. They are now third, four points behind the Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Player ratings

Man City: Ederson (7), Walker (7), Akanji (6), Dias (6), Ake (7), Rodri (8), De Bruyne (7), Foden (7), Alvarez (6), Doku (6), Haaland (6).

Subs used: Silva (6)

Chelsea: Petrovic (7), Gusto (8), Disasi (8), Colwill (8), Chilwell (7), Fernandez (7), Caicedo (6), Gallagher (7), Sterling (7), Palmer (7), Jackson (7).

Subs used: Nkunku (6), Casadei (6), Chalobah (6).

Player of the match: Axel Disasi.

How the game unfolded

This fixture had finished 4-4 earlier in the season at Stamford Bridge and while the crowd was not quite treated to a repeat, it was always entertaining with opportunities at both ends. Chelsea, in improved form, showed that they can compete with the best.

Haaland had been criticised by Guardiola for his poor body language in the first half against Everton last weekend. He came close to making a quicker impact this time around. His headed chance from Julian Alvarez's left-wing cross was directed over the bar.

Team news headlines

  • Pep Guardiola named perhaps the strongest Manchester City side available given that Bernardo Silva was only fit enough to make the bench. Jack Grealish and Josko Gvardiol missed out as expected through injury.
  • Raheem Sterling replaced Noni Madueke in the Chelsea team as one of two changes to the side that beat Crystal Palace. Levi Colwill came in for the injured Thiago Silva, as he did in the second half at Selhurst Park.

But it was Chelsea who had the better openings in the first half, looking a real threat on the counter-attack. They were able to play through the pressure and should have taken the lead before they did. Only Nicolas Jackson's poor touch allowed Ederson to smother.

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Jackson made up for that for Sterling's goal, however. After finding space himself on the right, his measured cross found the former City player who cut inside before curling the ball past Ederson and into the far corner. It was a deserved lead at the break.

Big wins for Liverpool and Arsenal earlier in the afternoon had put the spotlight on City in what looks like a three-team title race. Could they respond? Kevin De Bruyne curled a free-kick over. Haaland sliced a volley wide after being set up by Phil Foden.

Chelsea retained that counter-attacking threat, however. Cole Palmer, who left City early in the season, fed Malo Gusto and his cross was almost swept in by Sterling only for Ederson to produce a magnificent save with his feet. It proved to be a crucial stop.

After Haaland had improbably headed wide again, the ever impressive Rodri intervened. His shot was bound for the back of the net before the deflection. It salvaged one point. But with Liverpool and Arsenal in good form, will they regret not taking two more here?

Rodri celebrates after equalising for Man City against Chelsea
Image: Rodri celebrates after equalising for Man City against Chelsea

Guardiola: I cannot give Haaland advice

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola reflects on their 1-1 draw with Chelsea

"It was a good game. First half we didn't perform too good, second half really good. We had chances and in the second half we were better," Guardiola told Sky Sports.

Speaking about Haaland's nine attempts without scoring, he added: "I played 11 years and scored 11 goals so I can't give too much advice to Erling. The next one he will score. In the first half we didn't perform well and that's what we have to improve."

Rodri: We have to defend better

"I think we weren't great in the first half. We conceded another easy goal. I think we have to defend better," Rodri told Sky Sports.

"We knew about their counter-attacks and fast players, but we have to defend the counter-attack better. From there, it's always more difficult to come back.

"It's a matter of defending better."

Pochettino: We were very brave

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Mauricio Pochettino admits he was very happy with his Chelsea side's performance

"It was a very good performance," Pochettino told Sky Sports.

"Very pleased. I think that is the spirit that we want to show. We are working for that. I think they are the best team in the world and to show this performance, I think we need to be proud. We were very brave.

"First half was really good. I think we were aggressive with the ball going forward and winning duels. In the second half I think they dominated and they forced us to defend deeper.

"I think we sustained the effort and had some chances to win the game. I am so happy. It is a good draw for us and when you face this type of team I think it is important to be brave and fight in every aspect.

"Manchester City have the quality and capacity to create chances and they have amazing players. It is fantastic for us and we need to grow."

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Jamie Carragher heaped praise on Axel Disasi's man of the match display

Analysis: Chelsea getting their act together?

Guardiola had spoken of Chelsea's quality beforehand, describing them as "an exceptional team" but the suspicion was that this might be the familiar sound of the City boss praising opponents only for them to leave the Etihad Stadium on the end of a beating.

But Chelsea had their tactics spot on. They knew that City would have most of the possession but if they were able to keep their composure when under pressure and play that extra pass rather than just clear it, the openings would appear. They managed it time and again.

Palmer has that calmness, Gusto has the energy from deep. Jackson and Sterling have not always been as ruthless as they should have been this season - to say the least - and they missed chances in Manchester. But the goal was superb.

Pochettino will be just as pleased by the resilience shown. Conor Gallagher ran himself into the ground. Axel Disasi came up with block after block. Chelsea lost the lead late on. But they have found their spirit recently. That could be more important in the long run.

The match in stats

  • Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 23 Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium (W18 D5), drawing four of their last seven. Indeed, they've only lost one of their last seven home league games when conceding the opening goal (W4 D2).
  • This is Chelsea's first draw in the Premier League since November 2023, which also came against Manchester City (4-4), winning six and drawing six times each before today. In fact, the Blues are winless the last two times they've scored first in the top-flight, following a 4-2 defeat to Wolves earlier this month.
  • Only Liverpool (19) have gained more points from losing positions in the Premier League this season than Manchester City (18), which is their most in a top-flight campaign since 1993-94 (20).
  • Chelsea are without a clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League games against Manchester City, only against Blackburn Rovers in February 1999 (13 games) and against Arsenal in December 2004 (12 games) have they endured longer such runs in the competition.

What's next?

Man City play again in the Premier League on Tuesday as they host Brentford; kick-off 7.30pm. They return to Sky Sports next Saturday as they travel to Bournemouth on Saturday Night Football; kick-off 5.30pm.

Live: SNF

It is another huge game for Chelsea next weekend as they take on Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley on Sunday February 25, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 3pm.

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