Chelsea 2 Manchester City 3

FA Community Shield
Sunday 12 August 2012, 13.30 KO

City: Pantilimon, Savic (Clichy 45), Kolarov, Kompany (c), Zabaleta, Milner, Y Toure, de Jong, Nasri (Silva 76), Tevez (Dzeko 88), Aguero
Unused: Johansen, K Toure, A Johnson, Razak
Goals: Y Toure (52), Tevez (59), Nasri (64)
Booked: Savic, Kompany, Pantilimon

Referee: Kevin Friend
Man of the Match: Yaya Toure

It was a much changed line-up for City to the one that had finished the previous season as title winners, but more because of a change of formation by Roberto Mancini than anything else; his new 3-4-1-2 system being one of the hot topics before kick-off. The other was the news that City had agreed a fee with Everton for Jack Rodwell, who would turn out to be their first signing of the summer.

The game started ferociously. Tevez drew a save from Cech from a free kick, before two Kolarov corners caused problems in the FA Cup winners’ box. Nasri had an effort comfortably saved by Cech and Aguero could have done better as he stretched to flick a Milner cross towards goal. The Champions were on top.

On the half hour, though, Chelsea had their first meaningful attempt on goal. It came through their new recruit Eden Hazard, but it was from a long way out and well held by Pantilimon under pressure. All of the Londoners’ good defending was nearly undone on 37 minutes, though, as Cech mishandled a cross and ended up juggling it to the edge of his box – but he was able to boot it clear.

A poor header from Kompany with five minutes to go until half time, though, gifted the ball back to Chelsea on the edge of City’s box. Zabaleta was too hasty to dive in and Ramires stepped around the Argentine. He poked it past Kompany to Torres, who lifted the ball into the net, despite the challenge from Kolarov.

But, as soon as they were up a goal, Chelsea were down a man. Ivanovic was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Kolarov as City looked to get back on terms. It was a loose ball and the defender was stretching to reach it, but it was a dangerous tackle. Chelsea, though, felt aggrieved: They felt Savic should have seen a second yellow card for a block on Torres just seconds earlier.

Early in the second half, City were level. Terry’s clearance to the edge of the box was under-hit and it fell kindly for Yaya Toure to take a touch out of his feet. He rounded the crowded box and smashed it back towards the near post, beating Cech and finding the net.

Six minutes later, Tevez got himself on the scoresheet with a beautiful finish. He emerged from the left flank with the ball after some neat one-touch passing from the blues. He carried it along the 18-yard line before bending it into the top corner, leaving Cech a spectator.

Five minutes after the hour, it got even better: Kolarov delivered a thumped cross into the middle and Nasri was in the perfect place to get his toe on the end of it and poke it into the net. City had stepped it up a gear and Chelsea looked like they could be on the end of a rout at Villa Park.

But the added goals didn’t come for City, who appeared to take their foot off the gas. And, soon enough, they were punished for it. Ex-Citizen Daniel Sturridge shot from range towards the corner of Pantilimon’s net. He fumbled it when he should have done much better and Ryan Bertrand got to the rebound first to slot it home. Both he and Pantilimon were then booked following a minor disagreement.

With the game heading for stoppage time, Aguero missed the easiest chance of the game: Yaya Toure produced one of his trademark lung-busting runs to put Milner free in the area. He found Aguero inside the six-yard box and, with the goal at his mercy, his side-footed effort was well wide.

The final action saw Petr Cech join the Chelsea attack for a corner as they went in search of an unlikely equaliser. They didn’t get it and City came away with the ball, but David Silva opted to try and beat Ramires instead of shoot at the open goal and the Chelsea man’s foul allowed his goalkeeper to get back into position.

It was a great City performance and it bodes well for their first season as defending Premier League Champions.

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