New Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez saw his side earn a hard fought point in a less than entertaining encounter at Stamford Bridge.
Benitez, booed throughout by the Chelsea fans, faced a hostile reception in his first match as interim boss, following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo earlier in the week just six months after winning the FA Cup and the clubs first Champions League trophy.
The intimidating atmosphere was apparent throughout, as the crowd directed abusive songs at the former Liverpool manager and gave a minute’s applause to Di Matteo in the 16th minute, the shirt number he wore at Chelsea in his playing days.
In a tight match it was Man City who had the better of the two teams, with Petr Cech denying Pablo Zabaleta and David Silva.
Although Fernando Torres was recalled to the starting line up, it was another disappointing afternoon for the Spaniard who struggled to make an impact after his reunion with a manager, who arguably brought the best out of the striker, while they were at Liverpool.
The game started off tentatively with chances at a minimum and both side’s defences very much on top. It was City creating the more threatening opportunities and midway through the first half, the first chance arrived.
Patient build up play from City allowed Zabaleta to find space on the right to cross, but David Silva’s header was easily over the bar.
City continued to press and another strong run from Zabaleta resulted in the Argentines shot being saved down to his right by Cech again. Despite measured build up from both sides, clear cut chances were few and far between, Sergio Aguero’s header from six yards out the best of a poor first half.
The game never really sparked into life as both teams were restricted to ambitious long range shots that rarely troubled each keeper.
Chelsea’s best chance of the match did fall the way of the misfiring Spaniard but he blazed over the bar. After a good run from Juan Mata, Eden Hazard flicked the ball into the path of Fernando Torres, only for his snapshot to go high into the stands.
The result means both sides lose ground on the leaders Manchester United, with Chelsea now 4th and five points off the top of the league.
Benitez has alot to ponder as Chelsea manager, with particularly hostile fans and question marks over his appointment, the pressure is on the Spaniard to succeed in such a short space of time.