David Luiz and Ramires were on target for Chelsea on Sunday as they edged out top-four rivals Manchester City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Ancelotti's men climb into third, but remain nine points adrift of UnitedDavid Luiz and Ramires were on target for Chelsea on Sunday as they edged out top-four rivals Manchester City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Three points on home soil was enough to lift Carlo Ancelotti's side above their weekend opponents and into third spot in the Premier League. The pre-match build-up centred around two big-money strikers, with talismanic skipper Carlos Tevez failing a late fitness test for City and £50million man Fernando Torres returning to the Chelsea starting XI. The visitors fared admirably without their captain during the opening exchanges, starting much the brighter. James Milner came close to picking out a clever run from David Silva, as he ghosted in behind, before Yaya Toure stung the fingertips of Petr Cech with a low drive. Edin Dzeko, deployed as a lone frontman by Roberto Mancini, then saw a heavy first touch deny him the opportunity to get away a shot from inside the area. Chelsea, having been lacklustre in the first 10 minutes, then sprung to life and Salomon Kalou was unfortunate to tumble over team-mate Ramires as the Blues burst into the City box. Florent Malouda then drilled into the side-netting from a tight angle and Ashley Cole sent a 25-yard effort sailing high into the stands. Frank Lampard troubled the same set of spectators moments late, before Joleon Lescott survived a loud handball shout as he attempted to cut out a Kalou cross. James Milner became the first man to enter the book on 25 minutes, for a foul on Malouda, and he then sliced a wild shot high and wide at the opposite end of the field.
ContainedTorres, who was contained for the vast majority of the opening 45 minutes, saw his first sight of goal blocked out by a lunging challenge from the combative Nigel de Jong. The Spaniard then produced the best moment of the half as his neat flick sent Ramires clear, but the Brazilian opted to pass rather than shoot and Lampard was soon crowded out. Kalou, preferred to Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, had the final chance of the opening period, spinning inside the area and drilling straight at Joe Hart. Chelsea burst out of the blocks after the interval, with Kalou forcing an early corner which Ancelotti's men failed to make the most of. The hosts then sliced City open as a flowing move involving Torres, Kalou and Malouda resulted in the latter scuffing a tame shot down the throat of Hart - when he should have been finding the bottom corner. Cech had to be alert to cut out Silva's intended pass for Toure on 56 minutes, but City were offering little as an attacking force by this stage. De Jong was cautioned for a crude block on Michael Essien, before the unlikely source of Branislav Ivanovic went close on two occasions for the hosts. First he hammered a volley over the crossbar and moments later he met a Lampard cross with a bullet header, which cannoned behind off Vincent Kompany, who knew nothing about it. Luiz was putting in another composed performance at the heart of Chelsea's back four and he comfortably blocked a goal-bound shot from Dzeko, who then glanced a header narrowly past the post. Ramires had his name taken on 68 minutes and shortly afterwards Torres saw his afternoon come to end.
ClassyHaving failed to break his scoring duck for the Blues, the most expensive player in British football made way for Drogba, as former City striker Anelka also come on in place of Malouda. Aleksandar Kolarov took a blow to the foot after being slipped into the box by Silva, with Luiz again in the right place at the right time to slam the door in City's face. The classy centre-half then made his most telling contribution of the game on 79 minutes as he met a free-kick from Drogba to divert the ball past Hart, who got a hand to his header. City threw on Mario Balotelli and Adam Johnson in an effort to salvage something, but the game was slowly slipping away from them. Gareth Barry was booked as frustration set in, while Kolarov was inches away from putting through his own net eight minutes from time as he nodded past the upright. Chelsea, rather then retreating into their shell and defending their lead, continued to press forward and Micah Richards was forced to put in a heroic block to deny the buccaneering Ashley Cole. By the end John Terry looked to be on his last legs but, having been reinstalled as England captain, the Blues skipper battled through in front of the watching Fabio Capello. In truth, he was rarely troubled during the closing stages, with City's attacks lacking in cutting thrust. Then, in stoppage-time, Ramires made sure there would be no late fightback from the visitors as he rounded off a counter attack by firing past Hart. A late booking for Luiz blighted an otherwise impressive afternoon for him on a personal note, as Kolarov also saw yellow, but there was to be no denying that the day belonged to Chelsea.
|Chelsea||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||1|
|7||Shots off Target||2|