LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Raul Meireles (R) of Chelsea is congratulated by teammate Didier Drogba (L) after scoring a goal to level the scores at 1-1 during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on December 12, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Chelsea Vs. Manchester City, Premier League: Blues Come Back To Defeat 10-Man Citizens

Mario Balotelli scored after just two minutes, but a goal by Raul Meireles, red card to Gael Clichy, penalty against Joleon Lescott and conversion by Frank Lampard brought Chelsea back

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Chelsea Vs. Manchester City, 2011 Premier League: Final Score, Blues Fight For Win Against Ten-Man Citizens

Manchester City were perhaps the better side than Chelsea for 58 minutes, or at least engaging them in an even game in Stamford Bridge. The rest of the game belonged to the Blues, following Gael Clichy's 58th minute sending off with the score tied at 1-1. Roberto Mancini put his team in a defensive shell after that and failed to hang on, conceding a penalty and eventually falling 2-1.

Chelsea got off to an abysmal start in the second minute, as their defense got caught well out of order. With John Terry closing down too high up the pitch, David Silva spotted Mario Balotelli and hit a through ball to the Italian. He beat Branislav Ivanovic one-on-one before rounding Petr Cech and scoring, putting his team up 1-0.

Though the Blues did not look great in the first half, they still found an equalizer in the 34th minute. Daniel Sturridge - arguably the man of the match - was the man who provided a magical assist for Raul Meireles, beating Gael Clichy for pace before cutting a ball back across the box. No one tracked Meireles' late run and he tapped the ball into the back of the net to tie up the score.

The game made its turn in the 58th minute, when Clichy was sent off after picking up a second yellow card. His hard sliding challenge on Ramires was a downright brainless one, especially considering that he was already on a yellow and Vincent Kompany was there for cover. Mark Clattenburg made the right decision to send off Clichy, and from that point forward, City just tried to hang on.

Roberto Mancini's intentions to play for a draw were confirmed in the 76th minute when he took off David Silva for Nigel De Jong. The most creative player in his side off for the most famous leg-breaker in the world. Surely, the quintessential defensive substitution and the stuff memes are made of.

It didn't pay off. In the 82nd minute, Sturridge took a shot that was blocked by the hand of Joleon Lescott. For some inexplicable reason, while in the penalty area and in front of the ball, Lescott raised his arms in the air and caught a piece of the ball. Clattenburg correctly granted a penalty and Frank Lampard - who did not start the match - stepped up to convert it. That would prove to be the winner, with Chelsea taking all three points in a 2-1 victory.

For more on the two teams, check out Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History and Manchester City blog Bitter And Blue.


Chelsea Vs. Manchester City, 2011 Premier League: Halftime Score, Citizens Superior But Tied 1-1

Chelsea got off to a terrible start against Manchester City, but they've recovered nicely to level the score at 1-1 at halftime. This match has experienced some serious momentum swings in both directions, and it's anyone's guess what's going to happen in the second half. Mario Balotelli was the man who scored the opener, but Chelsea answered late in the half through Raul Meireles and Daniel Sturridge.

The Chelsea back line was to blame again for the conceded goal, and it's likely that the high line meme is going to be repeated by the football talking heads yet again. John Terry gave City plenty of pace after he closed down the ball way too high up the pitch, leaving Branislav Ivanovic one-on-one with Mario Balotelli. David Silva played a through ball from 50 yards out, giving Balotelli plenty of space to run into. Ivanovic reacted slowly and was was beaten badly, with Balotelli running right by him. Petr Cech charged out for the ball, but Balotelli rounded him easily, then tapped the ball into the back of the net.

For the next 20 minutes, City continued to pour it on while the Blues' defense continued to look sloppy. They were struggling to pass the ball as well, and they're quite lucky that the Citizens didn't nick a second goal. David Silva almost drew a penalty in the 14th minute, going down on a challenge by Jose Bosingwa, but the referee waived play on. There was some contact, but David Silva appeared to leave his feet in an attempt to draw the penalty before Bosingwa went in.

Yaya Toure got involved in some shenanigans a few minutes later, committing a couple of bookable offenses against Juan Mata. He's extremely lucky he didn't see at least a yellow, as he gave Mata a slight kick when he was down in the 20th minute, then shoved him a minute later when Mata asked him about the kick.

City had most of the possession in the first half as Chelsea struggled to create chances, but they converted the one clear-cut chance they did create. Meireles was the goal scorer in the 34th minute, but all of the magic was in the assist by Sturridge. While running at the defense, Sturridge went around Gael Clichy and put a ball across the face of goal. Meireles' late run went unchecked and he was wide-open for a tap-in, sending the two teams into the locker room tied 1-1.

For more on the two teams, check out Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History and Manchester City blog Bitter And Blue.


Chelsea Vs. Manchester City, 2011 Premier League: Lineups

Once again, Andre Villas-Boas has opted to drop Frank Lampard to the bench. The long-serving Chelsea midfielder will not be starting, as AVB picks three more athletic midfielders in his place. Manchester City have kept Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri on their bench, while bringing in Pablo Zabaleta at right back for Stefan Savic. Micah Richards is injured. Chelsea defender David Luiz is suspended, so Jose Bosingwa goes to right back while Branislav Ivanovic moves inside. Here are the lineups.

Chelsea Lineup (4-3-3)Petr Cech; Ashley Cole, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Jose Bosingwa; Oriol Romeu, Raul Meireles, Ramires; Juan Mata, Didier Drogba, Daniel Sturridge

Manchester City Lineup (4-4-2): Joe Hart; Gael Clichy, Joleon Lescott, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta; David Silva, Gareth Barry, Yaya Toure, James Milner; Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero

Kickoff is at 3:00 p.m. ET, 8:00 p.m. local time. You can catch the game on ESPN2 in the USA, Sky Sports 1 in the UK and TSN in Canada.

For more on the two teams, check out Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History and Manchester City blog Bitter And Blue.


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