City’s thirteenth consecutive match away from home without a victory was a dire affair. As has become almost commonplace when away from Eastlands, city struggled to create chances. Felipe Caicedo perhaps could have done better with a half chance he generated early in the match on a counter attack, but from that point forward, Chelsea had nothing but clear sailing.
The lone goal of the match was scored by the resurgent Michael Essien who has turned in two scintillating performances for Chelsea this week. Pablo Zabeletta, in the starting XI in place of the injured Vincent Kompany lost his mark and allowing Essien an easy chance.
Shay Given was as usual solid between the pipes although he had a rare miscue fumbling an easy corner in the second half. Richard Dunne kept the backline organized, and Wayne Bridge had perhaps his best match in a City shirt, against his former club.
But the City attack was woeful. Elano provided little if any quality, while Shaun Wright Phillips brilliant recent run abruptly ended in the ground where he spent several unhappy seasons in between his two much happier City stints.
City’s performance was flattered by the final scoreline. Chelsea clearly deserved more than the lone Essien goal, but was wasteful going forward and City’s defense held up against almost unrelenting pressure.
Now back to the European campaign and the one hope of silverware this season.
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