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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea and Man City serve up a feast for the ages : Here we examine some key talking points


An astonishing game at the Bridge showcased the Premier League at its very best as the Blues bagged a 4-4 draw against the champions in one of the most pulsating matches you will see all season. And just when it seemed impossible to match the drama of Monday night's win at Tottenham, this contest delivered.


In a breathless encounter, Cole Palmer's penalty saved the day. The Blues trailed to an Erling Haaland penalty before Thiago Silva and Raheem Sterling put Chelsea in front and Manuel Akanji made it 2-2 just before the break. Haaland netted his second soon after the restart and after Nicolas Jakson had made it 3-3, Rodri's deflected drive looked to have won it until that last-gasp penalty following a foul by Ruben Dias on sub Armando Broja.


There were so many talking points. Here we highlight some of the bigger ones:



Chelsea have the tools to go toe-to-toe with the Premier League's best


The Blues may be a way off establishing themselves as title contenders once more but their results against the traditional powerhouses of the top flight suggest they may not be a million miles away.

While they have squandered points against supposedly lesser lights that they failed to break down, they have found matches against the trophy hunters to their taste. Draws at home to Liverpool and Arsenal showed moments of real promise and last Monday's triumph over Spurs in the North Londoners' back yard furthered the argument. Today they proved they have the game to unsettle the very best and might easily have won it. Malo Gusto skied when clean through moments after Nicolas Jackson made it 3-3 and it was very nearly an even more incredible storyline.


A fabulous day for the ex-Man City boys


The last time Chelsea beat City in the league, Raheem Sterling was in the light blue shirt of City. It was a sweet moment for him to put away the Reece James cross which gave Chelsea a 2-1 lead on 37 minutes. He has struggled to prove the move to London could open up a new glorious chapter in a career, which threatened to have already peaked during trophy-laden years at the Etihad. He has given a reminder to himself and home fans that he is not done yet.


But it was also a great day for Palmer, whose penalty deep into injury time salvaged a draw for the Blues. He put the kick away coolly under intense pressure. He played as if he had something to prove - eager to make Pep Guardiola regret having let him go south. He was full of energy and intent, as was Sterling with his purposeful, direct runs which created moments of mayhem in a normally unflappable City rearguard. He had a superb afternoon that will reignite calls for him to return to the England fold after being frozen out since the last Euros.


It was high time Chelsea altered the script against City


Having lost six in a row to City without even scoring, the Blues badly wanted to rediscover what it felt to get the better of the champions, or at least leave the pitch on equal terms. Not since the famous 1-0 win in Porto to claim their second Champions League crown had they overcome their northern rivals but this time they deserved something after playing their part in the archetypal thriller which will surely prove to be one of the games of the season - if not THE game.


Pep v Poch seems to guarantee drama


There were shades of that famous Man City v Spurs Champions League quarter-final a few years ago when City had a last minute goal ruled out by VAR, won 4-3, but went out to Pochettino's Spurs on away goals. In head to heads, the Man City boss holds the upper hand, but these are two managers hell-bent on winning big clashes like this. The goals flowed as much as the rain and the drama was unrelenting. Pochettino's passion on the touchline might have got him into trouble. He berated fourth official Craig Pawson at the end and it was a demonstration of the way both coaches live every moment of their respective teams' ups and downs. They are pure theatre.


Those marginal decisions


Blues fans long ago decided Anthony Taylor was never going to be on their Christmas card list. The award of a penalty at the Matthew Harding End following Marc Cucurella's tug on Haaland stoked their ire and invoked some very graphic chants aimed at the referee. Replays suggested there was mutual manhandling initially between striker and defender but the final offence looked key and the VAR decision not to intervene suggested Taylor had not made a howler. VAR also rejected claims Haaland handled when he slid in to score City's third just after the break. It was a tough game to manage, given the pace, the slippery conditions and the capacity for tempers to flare because of the perceived stakes. But you would be hard pushed to make a case for saying Taylor got much wrong.

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