Parth Shah (Sportz Interactive), Dec 13, 2011

5 things we learnt from Chelsea 2-1 City

Beating a 10-man team is not as easy as it sounds and Chelsea were made to work very hard for their win. Silva went missing and so did Mata. But others stepped up to make it a thoroughly enjoyable contest.

A) Sturridge is very close to a complete wide forward. He personally favours playing as the central striker, but it’s his skill and trickery on the wings that gives Chelsea much needed width. And the fact that the entire world knows he favours his left foot is probably the reason he is that much more difficult to defend against.

He provided the cross for Meireles’ volley, but with his weaker foot after being shown down the line by Cole. Cole did the right thing, but Sturridge has a far better right foot than people give him credit for.

B) City has played all the big matches this season with the same pattern. Press hard for the first 20 mins, play short passes when in possession and look to play through balls behind the opposition’s defense.

It worked with astonishing success at Stamford Bridge as they took a crucial early lead. Aguero’s turn and throughpass to Balotelli was proof of his genius, and also evidence why City don’t need more than 3 attackers in the opposition’s half to score a goal.

C) You can’t take the brainfarts out from a player, even if he is in a better team and an organized

Mancini - Wenger warned me about this, but I did not listen.
© AP Images

defense. Quite why Clichy felt the need to foul Ramires is inexplicable, because Kompany and Lescott were already in position to provide cover. Quite why he felt the need to turn his whole body and tackle with his stronger left foot when an easier right foot tackle was on the cards, is even more bizarre.

D) After this display, Meireles has to be a permament starter ahead of Mikel and Lampard. With Ramires as his partner, Chelsea had oodles of energy and movement and City were outnumbered and outmaneuvered time and again in the center of the pitch.

E) Both Mata and Silva had a poor game as per their usual standards. Barring a strong penalty shout for a foul by Bosingwa, Silva went missing last night and contributed little to his team’s attacking moves.

On the other hand, Zabaleta stuck to Mata the whole match and completely nullified his threat. With both teams cancelling out the other’s best creative outlet, there was a real danger of this match turning into a borefest. Thankfully, Balotelli scored a crucial early goal and turned it into an open match from the 3rd minute.

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