- Chelsea vs Man City

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Sunday 25 November 2012 | Stamford Bridge | Referee: Chris Foy | Attendance 41,792

0 - 0
Man City
Man City

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Match report

To see the best pictures from the match, click on the box on the top left and scroll to “Photostream”.

Scroll down to read the managers' post-match reaction.

Rafael Benitez endured a difficult start to life at Chelsea, as his new side laboured to a draw against the Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City at a tense Stamford Bridge.

Former Liverpool manager Benitez clearly has work to do to win over some supporters, but a first clean sheet in 11 matches should help demonstrate what he can bring to the European Champions.

Sergio Aguero wasted the best chance of a combative contest in driving rain, with Roberto Mancini’s City side having the better of the first half before Chelsea showed some signs of life in the second.

The draw moved unbeaten City to within a point of leaders Manchester United, with Chelsea fourth behind West Bromwich Albion.

Benitez has shored up the Blues' defence during his four days in charge but he has his work cut out to get them playing the scintillating football demanded by the watching owner Roman Abramovich - and to get Fernando Torres scoring.

As well as recalling Torres, Benitez’s other big selection call was starting both David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic at centre-half - something his predecessor never did.

City began brightly, with Ashley Cole having to race back to prevent Pablo Zabaleta from opening the scoring from a David Silva through ball after only four minutes.

There was a worrying mix-up when Luiz’s clearance careered behind off Ivanovic as City continued to enjoy the better of things.

Chelsea should have fallen behind after 20 minutes when Silva powered a free header over the top from Zabaleta’s cross.

Chelsea’s defensive jitters continued, with Cesar Azpilicueta’s desperate block denying Aguero.

Zabaleta repeatedly exposed Chelsea’s weakness down the left and he fired at Petr Cech’s legs after a one-two with Edin Dzeko.

And, following a sudden dowpour, Aguero wasted a glorious chance to put City ahead three minutes before half-time when he nodded straight at Cech from six yards with no-one else near him.

Chelsea finally put together a flowing move as they improved after the restart, and Ramires also tried his luck from 25 yards - but Torres’ frustration grew as he failed to take advantage of another good pass before kicking the ball away.

Chelsea were on top after Benitez’s half-time teamtalk, with Mata seeing more and more of the ball, as well as sending in a corner which Luiz flicked over.

A two-on-one opportunity was thwarted when Torres was penalised for handball just before the hour mark but the Spaniard finally had a clean sight of goal when he rifled just over left-footed after good work from Mata and Hazard.

Zabaleta was booked for halting a barnstorming run from Ivanovic, while Cole produced a crucial clearance on Dzeko’s cross, the striker’s final contribution before being replaced by Carlos Tevez midway through the half.

Benitez responded by bringing on Victor Moses for Hazard but his only impact was getting Aleksandar Kolarov booked as rain began to teem down once more.

Ten minutes later, Oriol Romeu replaced John Obi Mikel as Benitez tried to change his side’s approach again.

In the final stages, Luiz saw a header deflected wide and Joe Hart palmed over a powerful Cole shot.

With five minutes remaining, Aguero departed for Mario Balotelli, but it was centre-back Matija Nastasic who almost snatched all three points for City with a stoppage-time header from a corner that was straight at Cech.

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez: "It was a tough game against a good team, no clear chances for them or us. It's not the ideal [result] but to have a clean sheet and to see the spirit and mentality and work rate was quite positive.

"You could see they were trying really hard with and without the ball and against a great team they had some chances."

"We didn't link with the players in the second line as much as I was expecting. It's something I want to improve and then we will create more chances."

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini: "I think we play very well but are missing a goal. We had a lot of chances but were missing the last pass or shot.

"When you are near the box you should be very strong, if you are soft you cannot score. We dominated the first half, second half Chelsea did better, but we need to be strong, we were too soft.

"I don't think Rafa is a magician. I don't think in two days he can change everything."

Fan Rating

- rate the player performances for this match

Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Petr Cech - -
3. Ashley Cole - -
28. César Azpilicueta - -
4. David Luiz - -
2. Branislav Ivanovic - -
12. John Obi Mikel - -
11. Oscar - -
7. Ramires - -
10. Juan Mata - -
17. Eden Hazard - -
9. Fernando Torres - -
Substitutes All Fans BFR
6. Oriol Romeu - -
21. Marko Marin - -
24. Gary Cahill - -
22. Ross Turnbull - -
13. Victor Moses - -
19. Paulo Ferreira - -
34. Ryan Bertrand - -
Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Joe Hart - -
33. Matija Nastasic - -
4. Vincent Kompany - -
13. Aleksandar Kolarov - -
5. Pablo Zabaleta - -
18. Gareth Barry - -
21. David Silva - -
7. James Milner - -
42. Yaya Touré - -
10. Edin Dzeko - -
16. Sergio Agüero - -
Substitutes All Fans BFR
28. Kolo Touré - -
3. Maicon - -
8. Samir Nasri - -
30. Costel Pantilimon - -
32. Carlos Tévez - -
45. Mario Balotelli - -
14. Javi García - -

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