The battle of the heavyweight “financial dopers” with a combined estimate of £650m in transfer fees was settled at Stamford Bridge.
The Italians on the sidelines, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini, and Fabio Capello saw Chelsea’s Brazilians rise to the occasion and score two goals. David Luiz, Chelsea’s latest darling used his rock star mane to good use scoring from a John Terry corner. Then Ramires nimbly stepped aside a couple of City defenders after receiving a Michael Essien pass to blast the ball past Joe Hart.
Capello must be especially pleased with the deportment of Terry, reinstated as England’s captain. In fact, he turned in a pretty darn good performance. For a long time it looked as if Chelsea would have to settle for a stalemate. One remembers Arsenal’s similar inability to solve City’s frustrating anti football at the Emirates. But Chelsea’s set piece capability proved to be the difference. The result leaves the Blues within sneaking distance of the title.
Mancini employed Nigel De Jong, Yaya Toure, and Gareth Barry. Not exactly an attacking force. The only player capable of creativity was David Silva, a gifted playmaker but too often he cut a solitary figure. The pressure is visibly on Ancelotti but one can bet money Mancini will be the one shown the door as his natural inclination seems to be not to lose matches. He was forced to use Adam Johnson and Mario Balotelli only when City fell behind.
Here is another prediction: Didier Drogba will leave Stamford Bridge this summer even as he rationalizes Ancelotti’s rotation. This is a striker who threw a major sulk when he felt his scoring title was in danger after Frank Lampard was chosen to take a penalty in last season’s thrashing of Wigan.