By Haizam Shah
The game between the current European champions and the defending English champions was overshadowed by the home fans’ hostile welcome for former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, newly appointed to replace Roberto Di Matteo as interim manager.
The Chelsea fans showed their total displeasure for Benitez with plenty of “Benitez Out” signs accompanying the expletive-filled anti-Benitez chants, as both teams played out a dour 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
The drama almost affected Chelsea’s play as City took the first half in terms of possession, with the Blues only showing up in the second. Aguero, starting up front with Dzeko, had the best chance of the game but unfortunately he was wasteful in the wet conditions.
Chelsea was lucky to escape in the fourth minute when Hazard gave the ball away, only for Ashley Cole to save the situation by preventing Zabaleta from capitalizing on Silva’s through-pass.
Their back-four were thoroughly tested by City’s attack and the lack of confidence could be seen in the wake of the instability created by the club’s situation.
Watching the game, I felt that Mancini could have capitalized on that by starting Tevez and Aguero upfront. Tevez’s form this season has so far shown that he is a better bet to be starting games rather than coming into the picture later, while Dzeko - despite being joint top-scorer with Tevez - looks more like an impact substitute.
And let’s not even go to Balotelli. Coming into the game, that injury-time yellow card received for his disputable dive (or a blatant bodycheck by David Luiz) proved that his infamous reputation will get him unnecessary bookings.
The good thing from the draw is that City are still unbeaten, and only a point behind United. So it’s not exactly a bad result, though Chelsea were there for the taking.
Personally, Mancini works in mysterious ways; a 3-5-2/3-4-3 attacking formation in Europe, but he chooses to play it safe back in England. But this is how it feels to be like supporting City. We are so complex that we still follow the club, whatever strange decisions may be taken!