Nine-man Blues battered by City

Wayne Bridge made a point, then left with all three as Manchester City blew the title race wide open with a 4-2 hammering of nine-man Chelsea.

Last Updated: 27/02/10 at 15:08 Post Comment

Tevez (c): Scored twice

Tevez (c): Scored twice

More of the games that matter

Watch Manchester City v Manchester United live only on Sky Sports this Super Sunday. Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

All kinds of conspiracy theories had been raised about the pre-match Stamford Bridge handshake following revelations about John Terry's alleged affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the mother of Bridge's young son.

In the end, there was no mass boycott of the traditional handshake by City players, just an icy stare from Bridge as he refused to shake Terry's hand.

It was perhaps the most predictable part of a truly astonishing afternoon that exploded into life once Frank Lampard had put the hosts in front just before the break.

At about that point, Chelsea's world imploded.

Henrique Hilario gifted City goals either side of the interval, failing to make saves Petr Cech would regard as routine to keep out shots from Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy either side of the interval.

Then Juliano Belletti was red carded for a foul on Gareth Barry that allowed Tevez to fire home a third from the spot.

And the drama did not finish there as Michael Ballack was also sent off for two yellow cards before Bellamy added another.

A stoppage time Lampard penalty at least raised a cheer from a team whose lead over Manchester United remains a precarious single point.

For Bridge though, it was a perfect afternoon. He stands on the moral high ground, despite the disgraceful chants aimed at him by the home fans, and City are back in the top four.

The intrigue concerning Terry and Bridge had completely overshadowed what was a key encounter for both clubs.

After their midweek loss in Milan, Chelsea were eager to re-establish their four-point lead over Manchester United whilst for City, it was an opportunity to reinforce their top four credentials after a disappointing FA Cup exit at Stoke.

Indeed, it could be argued the Bridge issue has taken quite a lot of heat away from Roberto Mancini, who, after that short post-Christmas honeymoon period, has found his position already coming under scrutiny.

The Italian cannot have been too impressed with his side's early efforts either.

Although Chelsea were not at their best, they monopolised possession and could have been in front when Didier Drogba turned onto an off-target Lampard effort and fired a first-time shot over the bar from six yards.

An overworked Vincent Kompany also sliced a shot over his own bar, while, for their part, City barely emerged from their own half.

Given that backdrop, Chelsea could have been forgiven for thinking it was 'job done' when Lampard struck.

Joe Cole had cut a frustrated figure during the opening period and clearly remains some way below his best.

But he spotted Lampard's perfectly-timed run in a flash and once through, there was never any real doubt the midfielder would beat Given, which he did with a precise shot into the corner.

The home fans breathed a sigh of relief and went off to grab their half-time snacks, only for Tevez to jolt them out of their complacency and shine the light of responsibility on Hilario.

With Petr Cech out for a month with an calf injury, Chelsea are relying on Hilario at a crucial stage of the season and there could only be concerned frowns on the home bench as Tevez's shot rolled in.

It looked bad in real time. Replays were no kinder to Hilario after Tevez had turned Terry, then scuffed a shot that incredibly turned into his 20th goal of the season.

Within four minutes of the re-start, City had scored again, with Hilario again placed in the role of accused.

Although Chelsea had plenty of men forward when Craig Bellamy broke from halfway, John Obi Mikel appeared to do everything right.

He did not dive in and kept the Welshman to his outside, ensuring the angle was as tight as possible when the shot eventually came.

But yet again Hilario was not up to the task as Bellamy's shot flew under his body and into the far corner.

For a team that had not scored on this ground since 2000 and had offered so little in the opening 40 minutes, it was a quite astonishing change of fortunes.

But more was to come as the red cards started flying.

Belletti was shown his for a foul on Gareth Barry that allowed Tevez to tuck home a penalty.

Ballack followed for a tackle on Tevez that could easily have been a dismissal in itself. A second yellow was produced and he was gone too.

Bellamy took advantage of the huge holes now apparent in the Chelsea rearguard with his second of the game.

And while Lampard rounded off the scoring, it was City, and Bridge, who were laughing all the way back to Manchester.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Monday, 27 October 2014
20:00
QPR 2-0 A Villa Report
Sunday, 26 October 2014
16:00
Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea Report
13:30
Burnley 1-3 Everton Report
Tottenham 1-2 Newcastle Report
Saturday, 25 October 2014
17:30
Swansea 2-0 Leicester Report
15:00
Liverpool 0-0 Hull City Report
So'ton 1-0 Stoke Report
S'land 0-2 Arsenal Report
W Brom 2-2 C Palace Report
12:45
West Ham 2-1 Man City Report

Footer 365

Premier League: Harry Redknapp questions Rio Ferdinand's ban as QPR get set to appeal

QPR manager Harry Redknapp has questioned Rio Ferdinand’s ban by the FA and says the club will discuss an appeal.

Premier League: Swansea's Federico Fernandez avoids three-match ban after successful appeal

Swansea have successfully appealed the straight red card issued to Federico Fernandez against Liverpool this week.

Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon says he would 'relish the chance' to play Rangers

Craig Gordon says he would relish the chance to play Rangers if the clubs were paired in the Scottish League Cup semis.

Mail Box

'Pride' Didn't Stop Wenger Signing Flamini

Arsene Wenger's 'pride' in signings is quite rightly pulled apart. We also have a stupidly long email on going back, and one Mailboxer whooping about the FA Cup first round...

Wenger Kept His Pride By Turning Down Cesc

What message would it have sent if Wenger had allowed those that walked out to stroll back in? Plus, why Pochettino needs to adapt and the folly of limiting yourself...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property