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Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, Chelsea played Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup. They thrashed a below-strength Man City 5-1, and so still have a chance to win some silverware this season. Quite a turn around after a disasterous start to their season, which saw José Mourinho sacked after players mutinied against him. 

 

It will be interesting to see whether there are any complaints or investigations into Manuel Pelligrini’s decision to field an under-strength team for this FA Cup clash. Certainly the Premiership takes a very dim view of such things, but maybe the FA accepts that the FA Cup is not a top team’s priority these days. 

Man City, of course, have their sights set on winning the Premiership and progressing in the Champions League. And, with Pep Guardiola set to replace Pelligrini in the summer, it is likely that they are a team which has a golden few years to come. Chelsea, meanwhile, have very little chance of finishing in the top four, so winning the FA Cup can provide some joy at the end of a tempestuous season. 

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Chelsea beat title rivals Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad last night to go even on points, and end Man City’s 100 percent home record. As of last night, Arsenal are top of the English Premier League on 55 points, Man City are 2nd on 53 points, and Chelsea are 3rd, also on 53 points but with an inferior goal difference to Man City.

Prior to last night’s game, Man City had won 11 games from 11 at home in the English Premiership, which included home victories against Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Spurs. In fact, all the top clubs bar Chelsea. But Mourinho’s men held on for a well deserved 1-0 victory after going ahead from a goal by Serbian defender Branislav Ivanović in the 33rd minute. to lay down an important marker against the team Chelsea’s manager sees as the side most likely to win this year’s title.



Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad last night, ending Man City's 100% home record.

Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad last night, ending Man City’s 100% home record.



Had Man City retained their 100% home record they would have gone back to the top of the Premiership, leapfrogging Arsenal who have been top for most of the season. But, Chelsea’s victory now leaves the title wide open between the top 3 teams. Mourinho insists he is not expecting to win the EPL in his first year back at Stamford Bridge, but I suspect this is as much mind games as anything else.

The result is also important for the FA Cup 5th round, with Chelsea having drawn Man City at the Etihad, as I mentioned here. That fixture is in less than two weeks’ time, and last night’s victory should still be fresh in both teams’ minds when they take the field. Before then, both Chelsea and Man City have what appear on paper to be relatively easy EPL games. Chelsea have Newcastle at home and then West Bromwich Albion away, whereas Man City have Norwich away and then Sunderland at home.

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