By William Wood | In Micah's Say
Manchester City succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against title-chasing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and Micah gave his views on a lacklustre performance exclusively to MicahRichards.com.
Mark Hughes’ men went into the game on the back of the impressive midweek Uefa Cup win over Aalborg, though his side had still only managed one away win in the Premier League all season.
Chelsea were looking to maintain their title bid having themselves scraped through to the next round of the Champions League on Tuesday evening against Juventus.
The hosts thought they had grabbed the lead minutes into the game as Frank Lampard flicked the ball beyond Shay Given, but City were handed a reprieve in the form of the linesman’s flag.
At the other end, former Blues defender Wayne Bridge – on his return to West London – forced a save from Petr Cech, but similarly the England international was adjudged to have strayed offside.
Chelsea continued to probe, keeping Micah and his fellow defenders on their toes, and the 20-year old had to be alert as Nicolas Anelka looked to latch on to a through ball only for the youngster to cut out the danger.
With 18 minutes on the clock Guus Hiddink’s side found a way through, however, as Lampard picked out Michael Essien with a free-kick 30 yards from goal, and the Ghana international looped his volley over the head of Given.
City looked for an immediate response and they could have had one had Felipe Caicedo connected more cleanly with the ball from the edge of Chelsea’s box, while Didier Drogba felt he should have had a penalty when Nedum Onouha appeared to scythe the powerful forward down.
As it was, Mike Riley waved play on, and soon after the striker played a delightful back-heel into the path of Michael Ballack, but the midfielder missed the target with the goal at his mercy.
It was much of the same after the break, City enjoying enough of the ball but unable to carve open Chelsea’s defence, and as such The Blues’ narrow lead looked comfortable.
Onouha’s well-timed tackle on Drogba as the forward was about to unleash on goal prevented the home side building on their advantage, and similarly Given smothered a shot from the hit-man minutes later.
Substitute Juliano Belletti then found City’s left-hand post with a driven effort from 25-yards as the Eastlanders rode their luck, while one of the visitor’s own replacements – Valeri Bojinov – controlled and volleyed straight into the arms of Cech with seven minutes left on the clock.
With the game approaching its conclusion, Florent Malouda almost doubled Chelsea’s advantage only for Richard Dunne to clear off the line in what was the last meaningful act of the fixture, and City return to Manchester disheartened more by the performance than the result.
“There’s no denying they were good for the three points, especially as we failed to create any clear-cut chances in the game,” Micah said.
“We never got out of the traps really which is disappointing after our last few performances.”
With Manchester United thrashed 4-1 by Liverpool at home on Saturday, the title race is back on for the time-being, though Micah believes that it could be too little too late with the Red Devils enjoying a four-point cushion and a game in hand.
“Chelsea look really strong at the moment, but their push could have come a bit too late,” he continued. “This is football though so anything could happen.”