By William Wood | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City charged to a 4-2 win over Premier League leaders Chelsea in an explosive encounter at Stamford Bridge as the Eastlanders ended their winless streak in the league.
The pre-match talk centred around the reunion of John Terry and Wayne Bridge after the much-publicised allegations against the former England captain, and the fact that the City left-back refused to shake hands with his counterpart only fuelled the pre-match tension.
The hosts were looking for a positive comeback following their 2-1 loss to Inter Milan in the Champions League midweek, and Frank Lampard’s only drive signalled their intentions.
Fabio Capello was among the spectators as the England contingency on display looked to make a final impression before his next squad was announced, and he will have been impressed by Adam Johnson’s lively performance as he set up Vincent Kompany in the box only for the Belgian to scuff his volley.
The early pressure was all from Chelsea and Florent Malouda went close with a long-range shot, whilst Joe Cole – back after a long absence due to injury – cut in from the left and curled a shot that Shay Given had to parry.
Didier Drogba was a thorn in City’s side throughout the afternoon, and a bouncing ball allowed the Ivory Coast international to connect with it only for his header to swoop just over.
Roberto Mancini looked the picture of calm on the touchline even as Nicolas Anelka burst forward and found Given’s arms with a powerful effort, whilst Drogba didn’t react quickly enough to capitalise on Lampard’s shot which found its way through to the powerful striker.
Eventually, however, the Blues did find a way through as Cole picked out the advancing Lampard and the latter’s shot across goal nestled in the back of the net to make it 1-0.
If the Chelsea fans thought that they had the advantage that they deserved they were to be sorely disappointed three minutes later. Tevez powered through the home defence and evaded two Chelsea players before cutting the ball beyond Henrique Hilario to level.
There was almost time for Joleon Lescott to add salt to the wound as he missed a header at the back post by inches, and as the players left for half-time the game was delicately poised.
Carlo Ancelotti will have been looking for his side to reassert themselves as they searched for the three points to move them four clear at the top of the table, but things took a further turn for the worse as Bellamy added a second for City.
Gareth Barry picked out the Welshman’s run and the winger did the rest, coasting passed Mikel before slotting the ball home to make it 2-1 in what was a superb move.
Everton were the only side to have taken points back with them after a trip to Stamford Bridge, but City were looking increasingly confident with half an hour remaining.
Tempers threatened to boil over as Terry and Tevez squared up, and Drogba’s miss when in a good position after fine control did little to quell the growing unease in West London.
And City’s afternoon got even better as Barry was brought down in the box by Juliano Belletti and Tevez dispatched the subsequent spot-kick, but not before the Chelsea full-back had been handed his marching orders.
Michael Ballack joined Belletti for an early shower soon after as he collected a second yellow card, but Anelka was still probing for a goal as he turned and shot only for Given to deny him.
The advantage was doubled moments later when an unmarked Bellamy was picked out by Shaun Wright-Phillips, but the diminutive forward made no mistake with a simple tap in to make it 4-1.
Chelsea did manage to pull a goal back as Anelka was felled by Barry in the box and Lampard coverted the penalty, but it was too little too late as Mancini and his men emerged victorious in spectacular fashion.
Chelsea: Hilario, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, Malouda, Ballack, Mikel, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba, Joe Cole. Subs: Turnbull, Paulo Ferreira, Kalou, Sturridge, Matic, Alex, Belletti.
Man City: Given, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Bridge, Zabaleta, De Jong, Barry, Bellamy, Tevez, Adam Johnson. Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Wright-Phillips, Santa Cruz, Sylvinho, Toure, Ibrahim.
Chelsea: Lampard (42’, pen 90’)
Man City: Tevez (45’, pen 76’), Bellamy (51’, 87’)