Man City falters in the race for the Premier League title, but Rodri salvages a point

Although Rodri’s late equalizer kept Manchester City undefeated at home for the whole year, a 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Saturday gave Liverpool and Arsenal a significant advantage in the Premier League title fight.
On his return to the Etihad, Raheem Sterling handed Chelsea the lead in the first half. Until Rodri’s deflected shot seven minutes from time, City seemed set to suffer their first home loss in thirty-four games.

City now trails leaders Liverpool by four points and trails Arsenal by two, although they still have a game left against both of their title rivals.
Midweek victory in the Champions League, 3-1 at Copenhagen, marked City’s 11th consecutive

consecutive triumph across all categories as they seemed ready to hold onto the FA Cup, Premier League, and Champions League triple they won the previous year.

However, Chelsea revealed weaknesses in the winners’ defense.

During a challenging season for the Blues, Mauricio Pochettino’s team has frequently saved their best performances for the toughest tests.

Chelsea defeated all three of the championship contenders at home early in the season, and they finally turned in a counterattacking performance away from home that gives Pochettino optimism for the League Cup final against Liverpool the following weekend.

A brilliant counterattack left City wide open, and Nicolas Jackson’s attempt to beat Ederson when clear through gave Chelsea the advantage considerably sooner in the first half.

Pep Guardiola’s team was not taught a lesson, as on minute forty-two, Sterling coolly cut inside Kyle Walker and blasted into the far corner after another former City player, Cole Palmer, passed Jackson in behind.

While Sterling’s celebrations were subdued, Merseyside and north London would have been ecstatic about the goal.

The only clear opportunity City had had in the first forty-five minutes had gone to Erling Haaland, but after the break they were out and running.

Following a diving free-kick by Kevin De Bruyne that ended up on the roof of the net, Sterling was extremely fortunate to escape being called for bringing down Walker inside the box.

But as City sought an equalizer, they become even more vulnerable to counterattacks.

Ederson pulled off a spectacular stop to keep Sterling from scoring his second, and Ruben Dias had to tip Ben Chilwell’s rebound over the bar.

Twenty-five minutes from time, Haaland’s strength and speed finally allowed him to go past the Chelsea defense, but Djordje Petrovic stopped his deflected shot at the near post.

The 53,000-cap crowd watched in dismay as the Norwegian headed far off target with the goal gaping after a perfectly-weighted De Bruyne cross, capping off an evening to forget.

At the very least, City managed to salvage a point, while Rodri continued his own unbeaten streak of a year.

The Spaniard last lost a match while wearing a City shirt on February 5, 2022.

The player whose driven effort off Trevoh Chalobah sailed into the top corner of the goal last season needed a deflection to help him score.

From that point on, Chelsea found themselves confined to their own box and had to endure a VAR review for a penalty that came deep into stoppage time after the ball touched off Levi Colwill’s arm.

Chelsea moves back into the top half of the league and within six points of the top six thanks to an unexpected point.

Source  AFP

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