A Carlos Tevez goal handed champions Chelsea their first defeat of the Premier League season here on Saturday as Manchester City scored a 1-0 victory at Eastlands.
Just one day after City manager Roberto Mancini decreed that Carlo Ancelotti?s team would repeat as champions, he saw his own club halt the progress of the London club, comfortable winners of their opening five games.
Mancini?s pre-match assertion, whether intended as an exercise in “mind games” or not, certainly created a stir with the City manager claiming that the visitors would defend their Premier League title “easily.”
The cautious attitude also extended to Mancini?s team selection, with Tevez as the solitary striker, and it came as no surprise that the few first half chances that were created predominantly fell to the visitors.
After 20 minutes, Yaya Toure lost the ball in midfield and presented Michael Essien with the chance for the game?s first shot which he sent skidding well wide of the City goal.
Only the woodwork, and Joe Hart’s customary excellence in goal, rescued City after 27 minutes when Florent Malouda?s cross was headed back across goal by Alex and Branislav Ivanovic saw his own header striker the bar.
The Chelsea full-back responded well and followed up, only to be denied by the England goalkeeper.
Chelsea enjoyed a glut of possession thereafter but failed to seriously test Hart again, the best chance falling to Essien just before the interval but, at the end of a promising attack, his shot was woeful and wide.
The second half, however, opened with the promise of more attacking play from both sides and, before the hour was reached, City were in front.
The goal came from a counter-attack and was sprung from a short pass from Yaya Toure which found Tevez on the halfway line.
The Argentinian sped through Chelsea territory — Chelsea defender Ashley Cole backing away furiously — before beating Peter Cech with a superb 18-yard strike that flew in off the inside of the left-hand post.
Ancelotti was clearly stunned by the Tevez goal coming, as it had, largely against the run of play but if he was expecting a committed response from his champions, there was none forthcoming.
In fact, Yaya Toure might have doubled the lead as he weaved his way into the Chelsea area, just losing his balance before he could get off a close-range shot, and the visitors were limited by dogged defending to long-range shots.
Essien tried his hand with a couple of pitiful efforts from distance while defender Alex rose well to meet a Malouda corner but his strong header flashed harmlessly across the face of the City goal.
Chelsea substitute Daniel Sturridge, booed by City fans for having left their club for a better contract with the London club, appeared as a substitute and might have slid in to claim a late equaliser but it would have been more than the reigning champions deserved.
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