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November 25, 2012
• Stamford Bridge, London
Referee: C. Foy
• Attendance: 41792
Rafa Benitez's first game in charge of Chelsea ends in a goalless draw against the defending champions. A draw is probably the fair result on the balance of play. Neither side managed to fashion any clear goal scoring chances in match in which the defences were on top. City move to a point behind leaders Manchester United while Chelsea remain in fourth behind West Brom.
FULL-TIME: Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
90' + 2'
Yellow CardMario Balotelli
90' + 2'
Balotelli knocks the ball to the side of David Luiz and then runs straight into the Brazilian. Chris Foy blows his whistle but then shows the Italian the yellow card for simulation.
90' + 1'
Chance! Nastasic has a chance to make himself a hero but heads straight into the grateful harms of Petr Cech.
There will be two minutes of added time as Manchester City prepare to swing in a corner.
Torres finds himself running at the City centre-backs after slopping play from Barry but Kompany once again shrugs the Spaniard to the floor with a shoulder charge.
On second viewing, Joe Hart got a touch on that Ashley Cole strike. The Chelsea defender unlucky with his appeals for a corner.
Victor Moses plays a square ball from the edge of the box and it eventually comes to Ashley Cole who fires a first time shot just over the bar.
Torres goes down under pressure inside the box after a couple of corners for Chelsea, the referee is having none of it though. End to end stuff at the Bridge now.
The Blues are immediately on the break but Victor Moses lets City off the hook by putting too much on his cross.
Milner gets to the byline and fires a good low cross into the box but Cech makes a good save and Chelsea manage to clear their lines.
John Obi Mikel
Milner picks out the unmarked Tevez in the box with a early cross, the Argentine brings it down well but then swings his left foot wildly at the ball and wastes the opportunity.
Yellow CardAleksandar Kolarov
Kolorav brings down Moses on the halfway line as the Nigerian threatens to hurt City on the counterattack.
Petr Cech is forced to conceded a corner from Carlos Tevez's mishit cross. The visitors go on to earn a succession of corners but Chelsea survive the danger.
Oscar turns well inside the box but decides to try and slip it into Cole when he had a rare chance to get a shot in on goal.
Mancini introduces Carlos Tevez into the action in place of Edin Dzeko while Eden Hazard is replaced by Victor Moses for the Blues. Twenty minutes for either side to find a winner.
Cole makes a vital interception on the goal line. Dzeko fired a low cross across the face of goal and the Chelsea defender did well to cut it out with Aguero coming in to pounce.
Yellow CardPablo Zabaleta
Ivanovic breaks from his own half to get Chelsea on the counterattack but is brought down by Zabaleta, Chelsea play on until Hazard fails to find Torres with an audacious back-heel.
Chance! Hazard and Mata work the ball well inside the box and it eventually rolls out invitingly to Torres on the edge of the box but the Spaniard's first time left-footed shot is blazed over the bar. Better from Chelsea.
Big call! Torres nicks the ball off a City defender and is away on goal but is then penalised for a handball. City take the free kick quickly and Toure tests Cech with a low hard shot from outside the box.
David Luiz manages to get his head on Juan Mata's corner but fails to control his header from close range.
Chelsea are beginning to attack with purpose but could have suddenly found themselves behind if Toure had managed to pick out Aguero unmarked in the box after a good City counterattack.
Hazard lays it off to Ramires and the Brazilian has a pop at goal from about 30 yards but fails to hit the target.
Now it's City's turn to test Chelsea's defence. Edin Dzeko has a chance to lob in a cross with two players waiting at the back post but the Bosnian fails to pick out a team-mate.
Chelsea on the attack early in the second period. Juan Mata picks out Ashley Cole's run into the box and his low hard cross is turned behind by Kompany. City manage to clear their lines from the corner.
Manchester City take the kick-off and we are underway in the second half.
Torres has touched the ball 14 times. Fewer than Cech and Hart. Safe to say the Rafa Benitez effect hasn't materialised so far.
HALF TIME: Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
45' + 1'
Chelsea are finishing the on the attack but it's too little too late as far as the first half is concerned. They will hope to continue this momentum into the second period.
Torres gets away from Kolarov with a great first touch but then loses out shoulder to shoulder against Vincent Kompany before sliding in late on James Milner. Moments later, the Spaniard earns a free kick for the Blues with some persistent pressure on the City defenders.
Decent chance for Manchester City as David Silva gets in behind Azpilicueta but then cuts back in field to allow the Chelsea defender to make a challenge. Aguero then wastefully heads into Cech's hands after being picked out by a good cross from Zabaleta.
Zabaleta gives away a free kick about 35 yards from goal. David Luiz ambitiously goes for goal but doesn't trouble Joe Hart with his dipping effort.
Chance! Zabaleta cuts out Ramires' pass and then continues his run forward, exchanging passes with Edin Dzeko before firing a low shot at Petr Cech.
Zabaleta almost gets caught out when his sloppy pass is intercepted by Oscar but the Chelsea midfielder then fouls the City defender to spare his blushes.
Mata misplaces a pass to Cole as Chelsea begin to get onto the front foot. It was a rare moment of panic in the City defence and Chelsea will be disappointed not to have capitalised.
Aguero turns just outside the box and fires a left-footed shot at goal but Azpilicueta makes a good block to deny the Argentinian.
James Milner is furious after his pass is deflected out of play off of Azpilicueta's foot only to see a goal kick awarded to the hosts.
Zabaleta gets across well to cut out Luiz's through ball intended for Ashley Cole. That's the first time the hosts have threatened to get in behind the City defence since the opening minutes.
Zabaleta finds a yard of space at the edge of the area and swings in a good cross for David Silva but the little Spaniard is unable to test Petr Cech with his header.
James Milner and Gareth Barry have started well for City and are not allowing Chelsea's midfield to get any sort of service in to their attacking players.
Roberto Di Matteo gets a standing ovation in the 16th minute from the Stamford Bridge crowd. Rafa Benitez and Roman Abramovic awkwardly sit through it.
Kolarov gets to the byline on the left-side and fires a low cross into the box which David Luiz clears. Yaya Toure has a decent shooting opportunity from the resulting corner but gives away a free kick after a poor first touch.
Mata threads a ball into the feet of Torres but his first time pass towards Oscar goes wayward. His first real involvement in the game.
Not much in the form of goal mouth action here. Hazard breaks from midfield but his run is abruptly cut short by Yaya Toure.
Manchester City are beginning to examine the Chelsea defence. The visitors are well on top of the Blues at the moment. Juan Mata and Eden Hazard are yet to get into the game.
Ashley Cole makes an important late tackle in the box to deny Zabaleta a shot on goal after he was played through by David Silva. Manchester City are beginning to settle on the ball.
Ramires stays down after a strong challenge from Sergio Aguero but is fine to continue after a short delay.
Good start from Chelsea. Oscar plays a cute ball to Ashley Cole on the edge of the area but the left-back's cross is well cleared by Vincent Kompany.
Chelsea take the kick-off and we are underway!
Chants of 'There's only one Di Matteo' ring around the Bridge as Rafa Benitez emerges from the tunnel. A minute's applause for the late Dave Sexton is then immaculately observed by the those in attendance. Moments away from kick-off now.
Manchester City's first league defeat last season came at Stamford Bridge. They go into today's match defending the only unbeaten record in the league again, will lightning strike twice at the Bridge?
Goal.com's Wayne Veysey reports from Stamford Bridge: "Out in the press box, which is located only eight rows from the touchline, there is no sign yet of a 'Rafa Out' banner. The usual banners championing John Terry, Frank Lampard and Roman Abramovich are visible, as are the various regional supporter groups of the club. I am reliably told by a Chelsea-supporting journalist in the row in front of me that there will be anti-Benitez songs today, and they will not be drowned out even by a strong start. Sounds ominous."
Carlos Tevez only makes the bench today with Mancini opting for Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero in attack. If you're listening Roberto; Tevez has scored six goals in last six league games against Chelsea!
The good news for Manchester City is that captain Vincent Kompany is fit to play after he picked up a knee injury in the midweek draw against Real Madrid. A win for Roberto Mancini's side will see them climb back to the top of the table.
Well we've all been here before. It's the start of yet another new era at Stamford Bridge with Roman Abramovich handing Rafa Benitez a route back into Premier League management. The former Liverpool boss, as expected, recalls Fernando Torres in his first starting line-up. What kind of reception will the Blues' fans have in store for him? Will we finally see the old 'El Nino' now that he has been reunited with his former coach?
Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov; Yaya Toure, Barry, Silva, Milner; Dzeko, Aguero. Subs: Pantilimon, Maicon, Nasri, Garcia, Kolo Toure, Tevez, Balotelli.
Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta; Luiz, Ivanovic, Cole; Mikel, Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Cahill, Bertrand, Romeu, Marin, Moses.
Good evening ladies and gents! Welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Chelsea vs Manchester City from Stamford Bridge LIVE!
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