A stoppage time penalty kick from Cole Palmer secured a point for Chelsea in a Premier League classic at Stamford Bridge.
In a game which saw both teams score four goals apiece, Palmer stepped up against his former club to smash home a 94th minute equaliser against champions Manchester City after Armando Broja was chopped down in the box by Ruben Dias.
The result sees City’s lead at the top of the Premier League cut to just one point, while Chelsea move up to the top half of the table after two very good results in the space of a week.
How the game unfolded
Proceedings at Stamford sparked into life – and as you can tell by the scoreline, didn’t let up after that – thanks to (yep, you guessed it) some good old VAR controversy.
Manchester City were awarded a penalty kick when a tussle in the box between Marc Cucurella and Erling Haaland resulted in the latter falling flat on his face in the six yard box. A VAR checked seemed to suggest that both players had been tugging at one another’s shirts, however the penalty award stood, and the Norwegian stepped up to coolly convert from 12-yards out.
That goal sparked Chelsea into life at the other end of the park, with Reece James forcing Ederson into a good save from a free kick before Thiago Silva popped up to make it 1-1 from the resulting corner kick. The veteran centre back raced into space at the near post to nod beautifully across goal and into the far bottom corner.
City began to apply real pressure on Chelsea’s backline throughout the remainder of the first half, largely through Phil Foden. The England international gave Cucurella nightmares on the right flank, and almost made it 2-1 after dropping the shoulder past the left-back before curling narrowly wide of the left post.
Despite this dominance, it was Chelsea who’d bag the next goal of the game in the 36th minute. Said goal would come courtesy of some horrid play from Josko Gvardiol his own box, with the defender losing track of the ball to allow Reece James to steal in and square across goal to ex-Man City man Raheem Sterling, who subsequently swept the ball into the net.
The visitors came close to finding an equaliser on the stroke of half-time through Haaland. The striker raced onto a slide through ball from Bernardo Silva before firing low and hard goalward. Remarkably however, with everyone expecting the net to bulge, Robert Sanchez dove brilliantly down to his left to get a strong hand on the effort and palm it clear of danger.
Man City didn’t rue that miss for too long as, in added time at the end of the half, Manuel Akanji was found completely unmarked by Silva in the heart of the penalty area and made no mistake with his resulting header – cannoning it past Sanchez.
Pep Guardiola’s side came racing out of the traps at the start of the second half, and were able to take the lead thanks to their star man Haaland. The forward started off a quick counter attack which culminated in Julian Alvarez playing the ball back into the path of Haaland at the back post, from where he was able to bundle the ball home.
It was so nearly 3-3 on the hour mark when Cole Palmer produced a moment of magic to wrestle his way past three Man City players and find his way into the penalty area. After doing all the hard work however, Palmer’s effort on goal let him down – only being able to find Ederson’s mid-riff with his timid strike.
Not too long after, it was 3-3.
Nicolas Jackson, who’d been extremely quiet in the game, sparked into life to race onto Ederson’s palmed save of a Conor Gallagher strike in order to tap home the equaliser.
It was clear that that wouldn’t be the last goal of the game however, and sure enough, it wasn’t. In the 85th minute Rodri raced onto a loose ball on the edge of the box and saw his first-time effort deflect off the foot of Thiago Silva and into the net.
Amazingly, that wasn’t the last goal either. In the 92nd minute, substitute Armando Broja was chopped down by Ruben Dias in the box and up stepped Palmer to rifle home the equaliser.
GK: Robert Sanchez – 6/10 – Made a quite brilliant save to deny Haaland in the first half. Not too much he could do about any of the goals he conceded.
RB: Reece James – 6/10 – Enjoyed a pretty entertaining battle with Doku out on his flank, and more than held his own.
CB: Axel Disasi – 4/10 – Struggled to cope with Haaland’s physicality and pace.
CB: Thiago Silva – 6/10 – Became just the fourth 39-year-old to score in the Premier League.
LB: Marc Cucurella – 4/10 – Gave away a penalty, although it was a pretty harsh one, and largely couldn’t lay a glove on Foden on his flank after that.
CM: Moises Caicedo – 5/10 – Battled but not particularly successfully, losing 75% of his duals.
CM: Enzo Fernandez – 6/10 – More successful than his £100m+ midfield partner, winning 57% of his duals in the game.
AM: Conor Gallagher – 7/10 – Bagged an assist for the opening goal of the game, and used the ball when when he was in possession.
RW: Cole Palmer – 8/10 – Came back to haunt City with a 94th minute equaliser.
ST: Nicolas Jackson – 7/10 – Scored Chelsea’s third goal of the game; his fourth in his last two appearances.
LW: Raheem Sterling – 8/10 – Cause havoc against his former team, netting in the first half.
SUB: Mykhailo Mudryk (65′ for Fernandez) – 5/10.
SUB: Malo Gusto (65′ for James) – 6/10.
SUB: Armando Broja (90′ for Caicedo) – 7/10 – Won the penalty in added time.
SUB: Lesley Ugochukwu (90′ for Jackson) – N/A.
Manager – Mauricio Pochettino – 7/10 – He’s finally got Chelsea firing. His side worked exceptionally hard for every ball on Sunday, winning the midfield battle against Man City – something which is pretty unheard of.
GK: Ederson – 5/10 – Should have done a lot better in the lead up to Jackson’s goal, but he did make a few decent saves earlier in the game.
RB: Kyle Walker – 5/10 – Sterling largely had the beating of him on the right flank on Sunday evening.
CB: Ruben Dias – 3/10 – As confident on the ball as ever, completing over 90% of his passes, but gave away a crucial penalty in the dying embers of the game.
CB: Manuel Akanji – 7/10 – Scored a stunning header in the first half and made some equally stunning tackles in the second half. Top class.
LB: Josko Gvardiol – 4/10 – All over the place in the lead up to Sterling’s goal.
DM: Rodri – 8/10 – He was hung out to dry a bit Guardiola in the middle of the park on Sunday. Left in the midfield essentially on his own, Rodri did an admirable job and even scored the winning goal thanks to a gigantic deflection.
RM: Phil Foden – 7/10 – Extremely lively on the flank throughout. Another very good outing for the England star.
AM: Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – Bagged an assist and worked hard to fill in the midfield gaps left by Guardiola’s tactical choices.
AM: Julian Alvarez – 5/10 – One of his quieter showings of the season so far, but he did still manage to get an assist.
LM: Jeremy Doku – 6/10 – Harassed James on the flank during his hour on the pitch.
ST – Erling Haaland – 9/10 – Made up for not scoring last week by scoring two this week.
SUB: Jack Grealish (58′ for Doku) – 5/10.
SUB: Mateo Kovacic (79′ for Alvarez) – 5/10.
Manager – Pep Guardiola – 4/10 – The decision to play Rodri completely on his own in the middle of the park proved to be a rather dreadful one. Rodri worked his socks off, but there wasn’t nearly enough cover for the City defence throughout.