By Steve Sutcliffe | In Match Reports - Home Games
A debut goal from Robinho was not enough as Manchester City proved powerless to prevent Chelsea from reaching the summit of the Premier League.
The £32.5m Brazilian put City ahead with a 20-yard free-kick but it was downhill after that as Chelsea scored three times without reply to register a seventh straight win over City though England captain John Terry’s sending off provided a blot on the landscape for the men from The Bridge.
Given the amazing events of the last fortnight it was perhaps no surprise Robinho should make the perfect start. In the 13th minute he ushered away his team-mates, before taking aim and calmly stroking a right footed free kick into the corner after Jo had been fouled by Ricardo Carvalho.
Micah in control against Chelsea
Unfortunately for the hosts, their lead lasted just three minutes as John Terry’s header from Frank Lampard’s corner struck Joe Cole with the rebound falling invitingly for Carvalho, who promptly lashed it into the corner of Joe Hart’s net.
It was the start of a sobering period for City, with Cole, Lampard and Deco taking control of the midfield battleground. Florent Malouda saw his cushioned header bounce back off the bar and then Nicolas Anelka wasted an excellent opportunity while City were restricted to rare sights of goal, although Jo could easily have profited from one as his curling shot flew over after striking Carvalho.
Having established a grip on the contest, Chelsea took the lead within eight minutes of the restart. A free flowing counter attack was finished by Frank Lampard’s controlled left foot finish into the bottom corner.
Stephen Ireland and Wright-Phillips went close as City tried to find a way back into the contest but Chelsea wrapped up the 3 points 20 minutes from time as Joe Cole sent Anelka clear. With only Hart to beat Anelka made no mistake, sliding the ball under the advancing City keeper. From there on in Chelsea looked comfortable despite City’s constant probing and which eventually led to the use of Micah Richards as an auxiliary striker.
City’s expectant fans should not be too disheartened as in Micah Richards, Robinho, Jô, and Vincent Kompany they have a group of young players around whom Hughes can build his team.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, Dunne, Michael Ball (Sturridge 84), Wright-Phillips, Hamann (Gelson Fernandes 61), Kompany, Ireland, Robinho, Jo.
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Elano, Garrido, Evans, Ben-Haim.
Goals: Robinho 13.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Terry, Carvalho, Ashley Cole, Obi, Lampard, Deco, Joe Cole (Belletti 70), Anelka (Alex 79), Malouda (Drogba 70).
Subs Not Used: Hilario, Ivanovic, Bridge, Kalou.
Sent Off: Terry (77). Booked: Obi-Mikel.
Goals: Carvalho 16, Lampard 53, Anelka 69.
Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)