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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
24 February 2013
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: A. Marriner
• Attendance: 47256
Y. Touré 63'
C. Tévez 85'
Anyway, that'll be all from me today, Sam Wells. Thanks for following the action with me and be sure to check on Goal.com for any post-match reaction. Until next time, farewell!
Chelsea, meanwhile, will be displeased with their performance as their chances of nipping Manchester City to second take a substantial knock. They barely troubled Hart, aside from the penalty save, and were fairly lax in their defending of the first goal, with Mikel particularly at fault. Not a great day at the office for the Blues and pressure on Benitez will surely build after that result.
Manchester City will be delighted with that result and, ultimately, their performance. They controlled the game from first to last and allowed Chelsea very few opportunities and, though their struggle to score goals this term persists, they eventually got the two that told here, courtesy of excellent strikes from Toure and Tevez. They will also be thanking their goalkeeper, despite his mistake for its award, after an excellent penalty save; if that had gone in, they would have been chasing the game and the complexion of the tie would have changed completely.
90' + 5'
And, with the game petering out, the referee calls time on proceedings, meaning that Manchester City comfortably win this game 2-0!
90' + 3'
Chelsea are finally building some attacks here but it's all too little, too late. Moses works it well down the right wing but his cross is deflected behind for a corner, before Cole's effort is then blocked from the ensuing corner.
90' + 2'
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
Luiz fires well over after a cross is cleared to the edge of the area before Lescott then replaces Silva as Mancini looks to sure up his defence.
Nastasic is down after a challenge with Ramires and, as the centre-back stays down, Nasri replaces Aguero before four minutes injury time are called.
Luiz gives away a free kick, fouling Toure on the right wing. You'd expect City to just retain possession here; the game is theirs to see out.
Chelsea have barely responded since that first goal and, looking at them after that second, they look as if they've given up this match. A truly disappointing performance from Benitez's men.
GOAL! City were looking the more likely to score and, eventually, they did. Aguero ran with the ball down the left and, after turning inside, it looked like the chance was gone but Silva picked it up and played it to Tevez. Tevez struck a thunderous effort goalwards and it arrowed into the corner. A lovely finish that leaves Chelsea with a mountain to climb.
City have the ball in Chelsea's half; the away side need to work the ball up the other end of the pitch but they can't seem to get a hold of it.
John Obi Mikel
City almost manage to hit their opponents on the counter after Aguero beats Cahill to a Silva through ball; the striker fails to take it into his stride though and his ball to the advancing Clichy is too weak, with Chelsea eventually clearing.
Torres replaces Mikel, presumably going straight upfront to partner the hitherto quiet Demba Ba.
It's Ramires' turn to waste an attacking opportunity now as, following lovely work from Mata down the right wing, the Brazilian's touch is too heavy and Garcia intervenes to clear.
Thing just aren't coming for Chelsea at the moment as, after some nice play, Oscar uncharacteristically scuppers the move with a poor pass, putting it behind for a goal kick.
Chelsea have still yet to test Hart since that penalty save as Moses puts the ball behind for a goal-kick with a fairly abject pass. There remains no sign of Torres though.
Ivanovic almost works an opportunity to shoot as Chelsea's possession is finally turned into something of substance. The City defence crowd the right-back out though and the danger is cleared.
The Citizens once again try to work an opening with some neat interplay in the Chelsea are but it doesn't quite come off as Toure's return ball to Milner rolls harmlessly behind for a goal kick.
David Luiz loses the ball in a foray forward for Chelsea and City try to break but Cahill, impressive today, is there once again to intercept and avert the danger.
City are slowing down the tempo well here, retaining possession as Chelsea struggle to win the ball back.
Lampard and Hazard are the men to make way for Oscar and Moses as another Mata delivery is cleared, though it looks set to come straight back at the City defence.
The game settles into a rhythm that might be the norm for the remainder of the game with Chelsea launching a sustained attack upon a resolute City defence as Zabaleta heads a Hazard cross behind for a corner.
Benitez looks to respond to that opener by bringing on Oscar and Victor Moses as the attacking pair limber up on the touchline.
GOAL! City launch an attack following Ramires opportunity and, once again exploiting Chelsea's right flank, Silva and Milner link up well to give the ball to Toure. Strangely unchallenged, the Ivorian waltzed into the away side's area and curls it into the far corner, using Ivanovic as a shield. Though it was fairly dismal defending, it was a nice finish to finally break the deadlock here!
Chelsea launch a counter of their own and, as with Tevez's opportunity before, Ramires cannot capitalise! Toure stood between him and the goal and outmuscled the Brazilian.
A Chelsea corner leaves the away side extremely short at the back when City clear but, as Tevez surges forward with options to the right of him, the striker takes too long and the danger eventually passes - he should have done better there really.
After that penalty miss, City are definitely enjoying the best of the game, dominating possession and looking dangerous in a way they did not manage in the first half. Whether they can turn this pressure into goals remains to be seen.
Aguero misses a golden opportunity! Milner threads the forward through with a lovely ball and, though the frontman took it into his stride well, he gets too much on his dink over Cech and the ball falls just over the bar.
Rodwell makes way for Tevez in what appears to be an attacking move from Mancini. It almost comes off almost immediately as Silva puts a lovely ball through to Aguero, the Argentine took it down beautifully but Cahill was there once again to tackle, putting it behind for a corner.
Penalty saveJoe Hart
Missed PenaltyFrank Lampard
That penalty seems to have injected a bit of life into proceedings as Milner goes down on the edge of the Chelsea area, vehemently claiming a free kick but to no avail.
Hart redeems himself, saving from Lampard's penalty! It was actually a good penalty from the Chelsea man but Hart got down to his right really well to tip the ball wide. An excellent save!
Penalty to Chelsea! Ba rounds Hart after a long ball forward and the goalkeeper brings him down!
Hart is called into action as, after some nice football from Chelsea, Hazard stings his gloves with a low shot from distance. A comfortable enough save but Chelsea will be pleased to finally test him.
City, however, are the team who work the first chance of the half and, once again, it comes from a cross down the left wing. Silva plays a lovely one-two with Toure before whipping a ball towards Aguero. The Argentine tries an acrobatic volley but gets it wrong as it flies well wide.
And Chelsea get the second half action underway, kicking off the half with a tidy spell of possession.
Both sides are back out on the pitch as we eagerly await the start of the second half here at the Etihad Stadium.
Chelsea, meanwhile, will be feeling both pleasure and displeasure at that opening half; though they have failed to test Hart and, indeed, have barely had a shot, they have been resolute in defence and have not allowed Manchester City too many opportunities. They will surely be looking to push on in the second half and create some chances of their own; they need to get Mata and Hazard more into the game if they are to trouble the Citizens in the latter period.
Manchester City will be fairly pleased with some of their play as they most certainly had the better of that first 45 minutes. They barely allowed their opponents a shot and had some opportunities of their own, mainly coming from deliveries from wide; the best chance probably falling to Nastasic, while Rodwell also appeared keen to break into the Chelsea area. However, City will be disappointed that they have failed to capitalise on their early pressure as, aside from crosses, they haven't managed to really penetrate a stoic Chelsea defence.
45' + 2'
And, with a Cech clearance, the referee calls time on a fairly lively, albeit goalless, first half.
45' + 1'
The away side almost manage to create their first real opening just before half-time but Ramires, after receiving a ball from Hazard, is tackled by Clichy and the danger is averted.
As two minutes added time are called, Chelsea enjoy another sustained spell of possession, though they have barely had a chance to show for their endeavour.
The referee earns a chorus of cheers from the home support as he gives a foul against Ba; they clearly feel they've been not getting their fair share of decisions in the opening half.
Yellow CardPablo Zabaleta
Zabaleta gives away another free kick on the left wing and is duly booked. A dangerous position to give away a free kick but the delivery, this time from Hazard, is once again dismal, failing to beat the first man.
City continue to cause Chelsea problems with deliveries as Nastasic again heads goalwards from a Silva corner. A decent effort but it was a more difficult chance and Cech claims with ease.
Yellow CardKolo Toure
Another Chelsea corner is cleared by the first man, Mata has been disappointing with his deliveries thus far. City launch another attack with Rodwell eventually firing goalwards; a decent strike and Cech tips over acrobatically. A fairly comfortable save though.
After yet another City cross, this time from Aguero down the left wing after some lovely interplay, finds Zabaleta on the edge of the area. The right-back volleys goalwards sweetly but Cahill is there once again to head clear.
Toure is down after a Ramires challenge; the Brazilian is duly booked as the Ivorian struggles to get back to his feet.
Hazard and Mata link up well down the left but Mata's progress, after receiving the ball back from his team-mate, is halted by Zabaleta and City have the ball once more.
The game has slowed down a touch here with City once again having the better of proceedings but, apart from crosses, they've proved unable to penetrate the Chelsea defence.
Rodwell is inches away from getting on the end of the Silva corner that follows but the former Everton man just can't manage it and Ramires heads away.
Toure tries to overpower Cole down the right wing and almost manages it, but the England international gets back well and tackles, knocking it behind for a corner.
Yellow CardJack Rodwell
After Manchester City give away two fouls in quick succession, they win the ball back and retain possession well, working another Clichy cross down the left. Rodwell bursts into the area and beats Luiz in the area, only for the header to fly harmlessly over the bar.
Toure fouls Ramires about 35 yards from goal and Lampard goes for an extremely speculative effort from distance. The results are fairly dismal though as it flies well over.
His cross, as has been with the case with several of the set-pieces today, fails to beat the first man as City head clear.
Chelsea continue to push as they finally seem to be getting a foothold in the game. Zabaleta fouls Hazard for the second time in a matter of minutes, in virtually the same place on the pitch. Mata looks to whip it in from deep.
Chelsea have a fairly rare spell of possession on the edge of the home side's area, ending in Zabaleta giving away a free kick on the left wing with a foul on Hazard. City might regret not capitalising on their earlier pressure.
Clichy somehow worms his way past Ivanovic down the left wing and attempts to cut back to Silva. Mata is there though and clears, only to find the feet of a City player. The pressure is fairly relentless here.
The home side's pressure continues to build with Cahill forced to make another vital clearance following a dangerous Clichy cross.
Another gilt-edged chance for City there but Aguero wastes it! After being slipped behind the Chelsea defence, he is one-on-one with Cech but tries to round him and, in doing so, knocks the ball too far and behind for a goal kick.
The ball is worked to Toure on the edge of the area, he manages to find a little space but his eventual shot is blocked by Cahill, going behind for a corner.
City continue to impress as a good move, once again involving Toure and Silva, ends with Zabaleta putting in a cross from the right flank. The cross is headed clear but the home side come forward once again.
That was a golden chance for Nastasic to open his account with Manchester City, he probably should have converted in all honesty.
The first real chance of the game! Nastasic attacks a Silva corner really well as he is gifted a free header about eight yards out. He directs his header goalwards but Cech saves adeptly, palming it wide.
It's more end-to-end here now as Chelsea almost manage to muddle their way through the City back line through Mata. The home side eventually clear and launch an attack of their own.
Chelsea respond with an attack of their own as a good move ends with Lampard crossing from the right wing. A decent ball in but it's just too high for Ba and Toure heads away.
Milner does really well down the right wing, beating a couple of players before getting to the byeline and putting a cross in. The cross wasn't as good as the build-up though and Cech claims with consummate ease.
Still no sign of a goal here as a Mata corner, in the aftermath of another Chelsea counter, fails to beat the first man.
After Toure loses the ball on the edge of the area, before going down somewhat dramatically, Chelsea break, leading to a rare spell of possession, albeit with little sign of penetration.
The home side are most definitely in the ascendancy here, a nice move involving Toure and Silva ends with Aguero driving at the Chelsea defence. Mikel gets a toe on it though and Cech clears. A bright start from the Citizens.
Manchester City have been quick off the blocks here, earning an early corner and controlling most of the possession. Nothing comes of the corner though as Ba clears with ease.
Toure tests Cech early doors with a low effort after his through ball to Aguero is cut out. A tame enough strike though and the goalkeeper is more than equal to it.
And the referee's whistle gets us underway here! Manchester City kick proceedings off.
The teams are in the tunnel and waiting to come out to a packed Etihad Stadium, with Pablo Zabaleta and Frank Lampard leading out the two sides as captains.
The away side, meanwhile, make a variety of changes from their Europa League exploits in midweek as Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba all return to the starting line-up, at the expense of Cesar Azpilicueta, John Terry, Ryan Bertrand, Victor Moses, Oscar and Fernando Torres.
Manchester City, as expected, make several changes from the side that beat Leeds 4-0 in the FA Cup as Joe Hart, Gael Clichy and Jack Rodwell all come in for Costil Pantilimon, Alexander Kolarov and Carlos Tevez. This game is Rodwell's first start since September 1st, although the home side do receive a blow in the form of Vincent Kompany's continued absence due to a calf injury, with Kolo Toure continuing to deputise alongside Matija Nastasic in the heart of defence.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole; Mikel, Lampard; Ramires, Mata, Hazard; Ba. Subs: Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Terry, Bertrand, Oscar, Moses, Torres.
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kolo Toure, Nastasic, Clichy; Garcia, Milner, Rodwell, Silva, Yaya Toure; Aguero. Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Kolarov, Nasri, Sinclair, Tevez, Dzeko.
And here come the team line-ups...
This should be a captivating contest as both managers come into the game under considerable pressure from their increasingly restless support. Roberto Mancini believes that his side can still catch Manchester United but, with them being fifteen points behind their close rivals, it seems a tall order, particularly for a team suffering from such poor form – they have failed to win in their last three league games. Rafael Benitez, meanwhile, has failed to win over the fans and, but for a late Eden Hazard stunner on Thursday, may have been under even more pressure as an early exit from the Europa League looked eminently possible. Nevertheless, with a win here, they would go just a point behind their opponents today; a second place finish would surely go some way to appeasing the Chelsea support. So with big things to play for both teams (and managers), this should be an enthralling encounter. Here's hoping anyway!
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of today's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Chelsea, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through today's proceedings.
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