The Song Remains the Same – Man City 1 Chelsea 1

A blues remix of a timeless classic proved to be top of the pops as ‘Super Frank, Super Frank, Super Frankie Lampard’ went straight to Number 1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Blue was the colour, football was the game with Manchester City and Chelsea fans all together in singing Lampard’s name.

Mixed emotions - City's new boy and Chelsea old boy was loved by all. Courtesy@MCFC

Mixed emotions – City’s new boy and Chelsea old boy was loved by all. Courtesy@MCFC

Fair to say the Stamford Bridge legend and City new boy was feeling a ‘Whole Lotta Love’ as he left the pitch, his mind a turbulent cauldron of emotions after scoring City’s 85th minute equaliser.

It may have been a solitary point rather than three, but the draw was a massive moral victory for Manuel Pellegrini’s men. Sadly the Premier League only permit maximum points for actual victories.

Pre-kick off City would never have settled for a draw but, down to 10 men and a goal behind with five minutes of regulation time left, they certainly would.

Franks alot - Lampard leaves the pitch to rapturous applause. Courtesy@MCFC

Franks alot – Lampard leaves the pitch to rapturous applause. Courtesy@MCFC

There was a sense of anticipation mixed with wishful thinking and a hint of karma as City’s new number 18 replaced Kolarov in the 78th minute.

When Lamps signed for New York City and the subsequent loan deal with City, many people, myself included, had not envisaged him being asked, or being willing, to play against the club for whom he scored a record 211 goals in 648 appearances.

Lonely trek - Zaba was given a standing ovation despite being sent off. Courtesy@MCFC

Lonely trek – Zaba was given a standing ovation despite being sent off. Courtesy@MCFC

The cocky ‘Cockneys’ thought they’d already won the game when their former icon of 13 years entered the fray, but Frank showed himself to be the consummate professional – thank God!

City found themselves outnumbered 12 to 11 from early on, before it worsened to 12 against 10 when Chelsea’s Mike Dean sent off Pablo Zabaleta in the 66th minute.

Up until that point City’s defence marshalled by Kompany and including a magnificent debut from lightning fast centre back, Eliaquim Mangala, had given nothing away – not even the price of a cup of coffee to the cheating, snarling Costa.

Respect - Lampard declined to celebrate his goal against his former club. Courtesy@MCFC

Respect – Lampard declined to celebrate his goal against his former club. Courtesy@MCFC

Five minutes later City, a man short and Bacary Sagna still finding his bearings, fell behind to Andre Schurrle’s simple tap in.

Maureen’s bus parking manoeuvre looked like being an adequate defensive mechanism and, at 1-0 up the pernicious Portuguese pariah believed his work was done.

Jose undone - how Frank thwarted Mourinho's defensive strategy!

Jose undone – how Frank thwarted Mourinho’s defensive strategy, even if the image does contain an errant apostrophe!

He hadn’t factored in City’s ‘fight ‘till the end’ mentality supported by the fact that Moanrinhio lacked the courage to go for a more resounding, but totally undeserved, victory.

Focused - Yaya was back on point, fully committed to City's cause. Courtesy@MCFC

Focused – Yaya was back on point, fully committed to City’s cause. Courtesy@MCFC

Pellegrini made five fully justified changes after the Champions League defeat in Munich. Yaya Toure was back on point, whereas mid-week hero Joe Hart was largely redundant and blameless for Chelsea’s goal.

One point of negativity – and it pains me to say it – would be David Silva’s corner kicks. Merlin is magic but his corner deliveries are both predictable and insipid.

Pellegrini simply has to change things at such set pieces because 14 corners produced nothing.

Back on the bench - Manuel was able to 'hug' the touchline after his midweek Euro ban. Courtesy@MCFC

Back on the bench – Manuel was able to ‘hug’ the touchline after his midweek Euro ban. Courtesy@MCFC

Man-of-the-Match James Milner capped his own personal triumph (on this showing he must edge Nasri in Pellegrini’s selection process) by providing the assist, as Lampard’s half volley eluded Courtois.

Chelsea’s Frankie Tribute Band fell silent, only for the Lampard lyrics to be seized upon by the Manchester masses…and with such gusto.

Furious City fans had earlier let their contempt and disdain for referee Dean be heard when Chelsea took the lead with a venomous rendition of ‘1-0 to the referee, 1-0 to the referee…’ reverberating around the Etihad.

Dzeko denied - Edin had a stonewall first half penalty but ref Mike Dean saw it otherwise. Courtesy@MCFC

Dzeko denied – Edin had a stonewall first half penalty but ref Mike Dean saw it otherwise. Courtesy@MCFC

Premier League officials are poor at the best of times, but Dean was always the best of a bad lot. On this showing he’s now plopped back into the cesspit of over officious and rank (careful with the opening consonant) referees.

It’s probably totally irrelevant at this point to look back and see that Dean was once suspended by his bosses at Professional Game Match Officials Ltd, amid allegations of online betting. The man is obviously squeaky clean, totally without blemish…just like that splendid Mark Clattenburg.

Yellow peril - Zaba's first booking was unduly harsh in a clash with Hazard. Courtesy@MCFC

Yellow peril – Zaba’s first booking was unduly harsh in a clash with Hazard. Courtesy@MCFC

Dean, harshly booked Zabaleta for a debateable first half ‘foul’ on Hazard. This meant he’d backed himself into a corner when he adjudged Zaba’s second half tackle on Costa worthy of a second yellow.

Not so with Costa who is allowed to place his hands around Zaba’s throat – for however fleetingly short a period – and escape with just a caution.

Best not mention the stonewall penalty for Edin Dzeko after Costa bundled him to the floor with Mike Dean perfectly positioned to see. No spot kick awarded and no first yellow given to the Brazilian-Spanish mongrel forward.

Neutered - Costa hardly had a look in with Kompany and Mangala playing superbly. Courtesy@MCFC

Neutered – Costa hardly had a look in with Kompany and Mangala playing superbly. Courtesy@MCFC

Kompany and Mangala neutered Diego the Dog with a series of tough but fair tackles. He did have a shot hit Joe Hart’s post, but only after City had diminished in numbers.

Costa cost £32m, the same fee as Mangala and the money looks better spent on City’s imperious new centre back. Officially clocked as being quicker than Theo Walcott of Arsenal, the 23-year old Frenchman was sublime.

With Demichelis on the bench, City now have a trio of top quality centre backs to address what was once a problematic position.

Serbian Ministry of Defence - Kolarov and Ivanovic stuck to their guns. Courtesy@MCFC

Serbian Ministry of Defence – Kolarov and Ivanovic stuck to their guns. Courtesy@MCFC

City were better than Chelsea on a day when well organised defensive units won out over rampant attacking play. It was an absorbing contest, one which must surely have featured the teams who will finish champions and runners-up next May.

Pellegrini – still minus the hugely influential Fernando and the livewire Jovetic – reduced Mourinho to a man who’d come for a point.

Mischievous Manuel described Chelsea as ‘…a small team trying to defend’ adding: “I would not be happy to play that way with 10 defenders defending their own half.”

Mind games - was Manuel winding up wind-up merchant Mourinho? Courtesy@MCFC

Mind games – was Manuel winding up wind-up merchant Mourinho? Courtesy@MCFC

A clearly irked Maureen countered, when referring to City’s cool Chilean boss: “Many times he says he doesn’t speak about me or my team, but he continues to do so. Don’t ask me about these words.”

Could this be Manuel The Engineer rattling the cage of Chelsea’s Professor of Psychology? Surely not.

In different circumstances this would have been two points dropped for City, but clearly it was a point gained. For Chelsea a draw at the Etihad still represented a good day’s work.

Thanks Frank - City players congratulate Lampard on his goal. Courtesy@MCFC

Thanks Frank – City players congratulate Lampard on his goal. Courtesy@MCFC

For a certain Frank Lampard it wouldn’t be unprofessional to say it probably represented the best of both worlds, ending with applause from Blues of both persuasions and tears in his eyes. In his own words it had been ‘…a special and weird day.’


By David Walker @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu



  1. September 22, 2014  7:01 pm by James Reply

    "Costa cost £32m, the same fee as Mangala and the money looks better spent on City’s imperious new centre back."

    Sorry did you blink and miss the opening four games of the season? Don't descend into the biased clap-trap of our red neighbours.

    • September 22, 2014  7:40 pm by JoshCannon99 Reply

      And who did Costa play against in those four games.....

      Mangala has played against who you seem to think is clearly the best player in the league, and he had him in his pocket the entire time.

      I know it's early to make such a bold comment, but I would have to agree with David on this one.

      • September 23, 2014  8:01 am by JamesHouseOlogy Reply

        Agreed, Yes Costa has made a big statement in the opening games. But it was always said City was his first big test really. And Kompany and Magnala completely dominated him, if you trawl through the various match reports from various websites, papers etc they all say the same thing! Steven Howard of The Sun, who never really backs City that often "said that Chelsea were lucky for our point, such was City Superiority"...... This is the game we needed to push things forward and prove that were champ's, only thing missing was the 3 points!

    • September 22, 2014  7:47 pm by David Walker Reply

      No, nothing much wrong with my eyesight thankyou. We have a team that has just shown itself as better than a Chelsea side that is supposed to be all conquering and frightening the life out of the Premier League. Mangala made a hell of an impressive debut and could form one of the best centre back pairings in Europe, let alone England. City can score goals - lots of them - but titles are famously founded on strong defensive foundations. You have your opinion, I have mine. Isn't freedom of speech wonderful?

  2. September 22, 2014  7:23 pm by JoshCannon99 Reply

    Thanks Dave. A fair and balanced article overall. Mourinho certainly set out to defend and snatch a goal on the counter - and that's exactly what they did, so fair play to them in that respect.

    We certainly were the better team, their goal was almost all but them - we gave them the ball from a poor corner and Mike Dean sent off the man that would have been covering.

    Now up to 5 points that we have been conned out of by the officials (two this week, two last week and one vs. Stoke) and they all mount up. A string of errors all over from Mike Dean; who is usually, I feel very good.

    Onwards and upwards with a smashing of Hull now please!

    • September 22, 2014  7:50 pm by David Walker Reply

      We all know there are no easy games in the Premier League but we do seem to be on the sticky end of some inconsistent - to put it politely - refereeing decisions so far. They say things balance themselves out over the course of the season, let's hope so and let's hope we'll be big enough to acknowledge if, as and when we get lucky. Cheers JC.

  3. September 22, 2014  7:45 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Very good David, especially the Chelsea bus.
    With Chelsea having a flying start in the PL I expected a more expressive team than the one that "tipped up".
    Same old Chelsea - Defend, counter, get a goal and hang on to it. Thankfully the very professional Frankie Lampard undid their boring plan.
    I failed to understand Mike Dean - for about 20 minutes he let the game flow and then, perhaps he felt left out of the game, had a rush of blood and from then on yellow cards were issued like an over zealous traffic warden. To me there was not one really bad tackle by either team and like you said he had dug himself into a hole with the first Zabaleta booking, so off went Zab, and surprisingly, not followed by Costa.
    I think the opening consonant of yours is more apt.
    Correct about the Merlin corners - everyone around where we are knows that his corners are not good and sometimes don't get past the first man. When he plays Jimmy Milner should take corners IMHO
    Some of the City football was superb especially in the first half but lacked that bit of "bite" in the box but in the end we absolutely deserved a point out of that game.
    Mangala : What a debut and like Fernando he fitted in from the first minute
    Milner : A truly superb performance, defending, attacking, passing, you name it he did it.
    I don't expect Hull to be easy next saturday by any means, and hope we can be more lethal in the area.
    Will Jovetic be back I wonder ?

    • September 22, 2014  8:26 pm by David Walker Reply

      I share your puzzlement over Mike Dean. I even gave him the benefit of the doubt when he incorrectly sent Vinny off at The Emirates during our 2-0 win. The red card was subsequently rescinded. I remember feeling relieved when he was the ref for the QPR game when we won the title.

      MP and Txiki look to have bought well with our 'frugal' transfer budget of the summer if Mangala and Fernando are anything to go by, especially as they were the big buys of our window. We need to focus strongly now on a certain Mr Milner putting pen to paper. It's all about playing and not the money with James. We just have to do better at corners - surely Jimmy or Kolarov zinging them in will be more productive? I trhink Jovetic is scheduled to be back in the squad for Hull. Thanks for commneting RC.

  4. September 22, 2014  7:51 pm by guy Burke Reply

    As much as i love zabba , he does have a habit of "leaving his foot in" and therefore unlikely to get the benefit of the doubt from most refs ? Good performance from City and a well deserved point in a game i don't think ever side deserved to win. Milner was immense as was mangala , the latter having the best debut for a defensive player since mike Lester !!! Who remembers him ?

    • September 22, 2014  8:30 pm by David Walker Reply

      The second yellow was probably warranted. For the life of me I can't see any merit in the first. Hazard's a very skilled player, both with the ball and pretending to have been pole-axed and injured. I think City deserved to win as we were taking the game to them and Dzeko should have had a penalty in the first half.

      I remember Mike Lester but I thought he was more of an attacking midfielder, writes befuddled of #RBNR ;-)

  5. September 22, 2014  8:10 pm by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    Am greatly perturbed by a lot of the refereeing decisions that have gone against us this season, for, as many have pointed out, we seem to be penalised for the same offences that our opponents are allowed to make with impunity. Costa and Fabregas in particular got away with (Sky Blue) murder yesterday, and the theatrics of both Costa and Hazard were what got Zaba the early bath.

    No I am not going to stand up and say there is any organised conspiracy to get City, I left the tinfoil hat in my other spaceship.

    But the stats make for some very interesting reading

    Are we a dirty team? I wouldn't say so!

    5 Yellows (11 Fouls) v Newcastle (1 Yellow, 8 Fouls)
    1 Yellow (13 Fouls) v Liverpool (1 Yellow, 7 Fouls)
    2 Yellow (14 Fouls) v Stoke (1 Yellow, 5 Fouls)*
    4 Yellows (15 Fouls) v Arsenal (3 Yellows, 11 Fouls)
    4 Yellows (16 Fouls) v Bayern (0 Yellow, 8 Fouls)
    5 Yellows, 1 Red (16 Fouls) v Chelsea (4 Yellow, 12 Fouls)**

    So Far This Season - 6 games, Two Competitions:

    CITY : 85 Fouls, 21 Yellows, 1 Red
    OPPONENTS: 51 Fouls, 10 Yellows

    * 2 Blues booked v "uncompromising" Stoke!
    **(Technically 5 yellows 1 Red v Chelsea)

    (From Vital MCFC

    • September 22, 2014  8:37 pm by David Walker Reply

      Great research No 5 - even if a third party did it for you :-) Could be suspensions galore before too long. We're not a dirty team, so how can this be? Go get that 2-4-1 tinfoil hat offer token, we're going to need them!

  6. September 22, 2014  8:17 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    David your best ever piece (and I‘ve read most of them).

    I agree that with Kompany and Mangala we now have the best CH pairing in Europe. And yes Milner was immense.

    I know who will have come away from yesterday's dust up, the happier. Catching up five points is no problem for City. It’s what we do better than anyone else. It also and makes the PL interesting.

    With equal resources MP outthought Maureen from the start.
    “Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War (Sun Jihai’s great granddad).
    And for the first 45 minutes Chelsea didn't get a sniff. It was not a dirty game and the only credible explanation for the quantity of yellow cards flourished in an innocuous first half? 'Spread Betting’

    City's PR department have just announced MP did not say 'Chelsea’s club was small'. It seems it was reference to Maureen's ‘royal regalia’. It's a South American thing and if true it would explain a lot!

    Finally some justice this week. City knocker and FA big cheese 'Greg Dyke' was forced to hand back his Brazilian bung, a £14K Parmigiani watch. Unaware of its value, Dyke had left it in the office biscuit tin. Clearly it's not just Blatter who's got a dodgy ticker.

    • September 22, 2014  8:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      Hate to say this TT but your comments are better than my blog ;-) and possibly far more actionable in a court of law ;-) I'll cover your backside:

      The comments expressed in the Comments of RBNR have an all encompassing 'Allegedly' caveat!

      • September 22, 2014  9:05 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

        Sorry David,

        Is it not possible that one or more players contrived to get themselves booked? No other explanation is credible!

        The 'Daily Gaal' was aired on Radio 4's Today' program this morning. Topic 'How to pronounce the great ones name'. They brought in a Dutch linguist (AT YOUR AND MY EXPENSE). She was emphatic. It is is Van Gowl (as in fowl). You couldn't make it up.

        • September 23, 2014  11:51 am by David Walker Reply

          As in BOWEL and the obvious association with what passes through and eventually leaves our personages - LVG speaks it and his Gaalacticos play it. Good to see Radio 4 are up to speed with all that is topical in the world and retaining their 'cred' with da yute and da kids on da street in Manshester Unitet land.

          • September 23, 2014  9:10 pm by Toby Teasdale


  7. September 22, 2014  10:33 pm by Glenn Kavanagh Reply

    Why was two teams playing in blue? Its the same with messes with my optics slightly I was having a Hendrix moment for 90mins a bit of purple haze going on there. That can't be healthy eh?, I was down after Munich big time but I have to say that I'm very proud of the boys, milner was awesome..nasri looked like he was in the monthlys on the bench - the ref erratic. Mangala looks amazing I was totally blown away by the guy. I'm not easily impressed but he might be the best center half I have ever seen, but we must not get to carried away with him yet. Remember everyone raving about nastasic???? We never know what's around the corner do we. I'm sure he'll make mistakes but his pace alone is astounding , I hope Marty d gets his contract extension he's certainly earned it for me, I really like that chap ' let's not forget about him he's a very good footballer & a proper pro. Nasri will be worried now milner must not be dropped now. He was just magic. What a motor he Has. I'd like to shake that guys hand. Hopefully we can get a cup win during the week. We need to stay focused for that. It could be a tricky game for us if we're anyway slack i.e Wigan. The 42 showed a bit of interest... Mmmmm there's a good read in the indo by ian Herbert I think it is, its worth a look.

    • September 23, 2014  11:57 am by David Walker Reply

      Cheers GK good to hear you're more upbeat. I was going to get you a telephone giftcard for the Samaritans after Munich away. Mangala magnificent but Demichelis not forgotten. We need to give Milner enough appearances for him to feel wanted, provided he maintains good levels of perfromance. He was outstanding on Sunday. Yes, it'd be nice to mount a resolute defence of our Capital Cup, even though we have our eyes on bigger prizes. Wednesday will be well up for it and egged on by 6,000 Yorkies - that's a helluva lot of chocolate bars all in one place at the same time! Haven't seen Herbert's piece, he lost all vestiges of credibility with that nauseous Manure editorial in Giggs' 'reign'. Very anti-MCFC.

  8. September 22, 2014  11:08 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Given the circumstances, a good point. The ultimate irony with the scorer of our goal though, haha! Great spirit shown to battle back, as I feared the worse following Chelsea's excellent counter attack.
    That's twice in successive home games that we've been caught like that, something to certainly work on.
    Superb displays by Milner and Mangala, with Fernie and Kompany not far behind, and Toure showing a return to some sort of form.

    • September 23, 2014  11:58 am by David Walker Reply

      Agreed - plenty of reasons to be cheerful!

  9. September 23, 2014  3:22 am by Simon Wilson Reply

    I have to agree with Mr. Ward; a not so Boring James Milner! What a debut for Mangala. What pace and he sure can tidy things up quickly. The goal? Well, this is why we watch the Prem.

    • September 23, 2014  12:00 pm by David Walker Reply

      Mangala was so fast getting back from corners to take up his defensive duties. It's easy to see why MP held out for him when he could easily have switched to Benatia.

  10. September 23, 2014  8:04 am by goonermichael Reply

    For a neutral that was a boring game. Maurinho always tries to bore the bigger teams to death. I laughed when you said dean was the best of a bad bunch. You wouldn't say that if you were a gooner. he is the most biased ref against us since Mike Riley. Check the stats. Even the odds at the bookies reflect it when he refs us. You should have had a pen. I also think lampard had a chance to win it but his shot looked half hearted to say the least. good weekend for us

    • September 23, 2014  12:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      As a neutral I can't challenge your view because I was far from neutral. Dean was damned with faint praise as 'best of a bad lot' but even that dubious compliment is now rescinded. We proved to ourselves, if proof were needed, that we are still superior to Maureen's supposedly all-conquering Chelski. We can do them at The Bridge and retain this title of ours.

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