Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea: 3 Blues Talking Points

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for Chelsea, but the Blues' dream of winning at the Etihad was cut short courtesy of a Rodri equalizer for Man City in the final ten minutes of the match. Three Blues talking points to follow.

Manchester City v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Manchester City v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Chelsea supporters were understandably apprehensive ahead of this game, but Mauricio Pochettino's side quickly injected the necessary energy to demonstrate their readiness to fight throughout the clash. Furthermore, The Blues showcased their ability to pose a threat to Pep Guardiola's side on the counterattack. However, there was initially a lack of quality in the final third, with both Nicolas Jackson and Raheem Sterling squandering significant opportunities. Nonetheless, it was these same two players who combined to score the opener at the Etihad Stadium. Jackson executed a splendid one-two with Cole Palmer before releasing his fellow England teammate through the middle.

Although the former Manchester City winger failed to impress when presented with a one-on-one opportunity against Ederson initially, he made no mistake this time with a curling finish into the far corner.

The visitors relied on luck at times, with Erling Haaland squandering several significant chances for the Norwegian. Yet, Pochettino's men defended admirably, with Axel Disasi, in particular, making numerous crucial interventions.

However, as the game progressed, Chelsea began to tire. Pochettino attempted to bolster his defense with several substitutions, but this only invited more pressure from the hosts, ultimately resulting in an equalizer. Rodri unleashed a deflected strike after a cross into the Chelsea box was cleared to the edge of the box, securing a point for his team.

While the game showcased several positives for Pochettino's team, they were unable to secure a victory against the current Premier League champions and had to settle for a draw in the end.

Raheem Sterling once again punished his former club

It was quite some time some time ago when he was cutting in on his right foot to score for City; now, he's doing it against them. Towards the end of his tenure in Manchester, Sterling was increasingly overlooked, eventually being sold to a direct rival. Clearly, the 29-year-old had a point to prove. Lately, the England international has faced criticism for his poor form for the west Londoners, particularly in the final third of the pitch, since his move from Manchester City to Chelsea. However, he demonstrated to his new club that he still possesses the spark that initially attracted them to him, especially after reports surfaced that Todd Boehly specifically singled out Sterling last April.

After scoring in the reverse fixture, the English international has once again found the back of the net. Although the winger has not reached the heights he did at City during his Chelsea days, there was a sense of déjà vu watching his goal in the first half. Sterling has no issue celebrating this time against his former side after refusing at Stamford Bridge, as he jubilantly reeled away, evidently pleased to have made a statement against those who moved him on.

Chelsea on the counter

The source of frustration for anyone associated with Chelsea is their occasional demonstration of top-tier potential. Consider their draw with Arsenal, where they dominated for 80 minutes until two late goals erased their lead. Similarly, their recent visit to Manchester showcased the Blues' capability once again.
Pochettino's gameplan was evidently crafted to exploit counter-attacking opportunities, yet they also effectively stifled the City attack, particularly in the first half. They fully deserved their halftime lead and appeared far from a mid-table side.

CFC had several chances to take the lead before finally succeeding. City, as they typically do under Pep Guardiola, love to press defenders to force turnovers. However, the issue with this approach is their vulnerability to over-the-top balls, especially with the speed of Nicolas Jackson and Raheem Sterling causing problems for the home side. Although the pair both missed clear-cut chances, they ultimately combined for the opener.

Trip to Wembley up next

This performance hold bergs significance in terms of motivation. Everyone should leave Manchester with their heads held high. A modified 4-2-3-1 tactical setup and a classic 4-4-2 shape out of possession illustrates that Chelsea can effectively play on the break against England's top teams. Pochettino's decision to adopt a deeper defensive line and focus on counter-attacking tactics proved highly successful, with Jackson and Sterling frequently posing threats on goal.

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Chelsea have occasionally displayed a one-dimensional approach this season. However, ahead of the Carabao Cup final at Wembley, they have demonstrated their ability to adapt and compete with the best. Conceding late against City is not a disgrace, given the champions' unbeaten home record this season. Nevertheless, Pochettino and rivals Liverpool have some considerations to ponder ahead of Wembley.