February 2, 2015 2:26:27 pm
Jose Mourinho does not lose big games. If there is one thing he knows, it is how to grind out results when the need arises. His midweek tirade against the Sky Sports pundits where he claimed there was an agenda against his team was a typical Jose Mourinho .
However, it is this siege mentality under which he thrives and it brings out the best in him and his sides. His tactical awareness was on show as he set his side up not to lose to maintain a 5-point lead over last years champions Manchester City.
Chelsea set up defensively and stuck to their guns as the instructions issued were abundantly clear. With only a paltry 3 shots at goal, the lowest number for a Chelsea side since the 03/04 season, Mourinho seemed content to have secured the point.
The blues broke the deadlock in the 41st minute when Eden Hazard set up Loic Remy with a squared ball following a delightful Brainslav Ivanovic through ball. Remy, on his first start since Boxing Day, tried hard to impress but the lack of creativity in the final third resulted in him having a relatively quiet game.
A few minutes later City were level. There was a hint of controversy leading up to the goal as City earned a dubious throw-in when television replays showed that the entire ball had not crossed the line. Despite the botched decision Chelsea had plenty of opportunities to clear the ball. Jesus Navas whipped a lovely ball into the box that was cleared to Sergio Aguero at the edge the box. The Argentine lashed a first time effort at goal that was diverted into the net by David Silva.
Mourinho was livid that his side conceded immediately after taking the lead. They would have surely been in a stronger position to see out the game had they lead at the break.
Given the hard fought extra-time victory over Liverpool in the Capital One Cup semi-final in midweek, it was no surprise that his team looked jaded in the second half. They allowed City to control the half as they soaked up pressure from David Silva and co.
Despite having the lions-share of the possession, Manuel Pellegrini’s side created only a hamdful of half chances and credit must be given to Chelsea who defended in numbers not allowing City’s players to get in behind them. Sergio Aguero who is yet to score after returning from an injury layoff and looked off the pace till he was substituted for Eden Dzeko.
Over the next five games, Manchester City have difficult away trips to Stoke and Liverpool. Whereas Chelsea have a relatively easier fixture lineup with the West Ham game at the Boleyn Ground being the trickiest of the lot.
There are a total of 45 points left to play for and both sides are certainly going to drop points along the way. It is going to make for a compelling run-in from now till the end of May.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.