HALCYON DIGEST: Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea, 2004

Manchester City’s first home game of the 2015/16 season is against defending Premier League Champions, Chelsea. In anticipation of the match, we take a look back to when the two sides met at the City of Manchester Stadium in the 2004/05 season.

Interestingly, when Kevin Keegan’s City side welcomed Chelsea to Manchester in October 2004, Jose Mourinho, in his first stint as Chelsea manager, would head back to London with a new feeling: the feeling of defeat in English football. Keegan’s charges were responsible for inflicting Chelsea’s first defeat of the season and Mourinho’s first in England. Remarkably, Chelsea had not conceded a goal on their travels all season until Nicholas Anelka’s first half penalty gave City a vital lead, which they managed to hold onto to secure something of an upset.

Manchester City's French Nicolas Anelka

Fuelled by heavy investment from the wallet of Roman Abramovich Chelsea were clear favourites heading into the game. Indeed, the Londoners were being touted as potential champions given the quality of their playing staff. The likes of Frank Lampard, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Claude Makelele posed a real threat to the summit of the Premier League. City, on the other hand, were facing questions around the state of the club’s finances and the future of Keegan’s tenure at the club was in doubt. Having just won twice all season no one realistically expected City to take anything from their superior opponents. All that was forgotten for one night, though, as the Blues claimed a major scalp and were deserved winners.

With heavy rain making the playing surface a little greasy, the pitch was not easy to play on. Indeed, it was Chelsea who appeared unsettled by the conditions and it was City, perhaps more use to the Mancunian weather, who managed to capitalise on the circumstances. After William Gallas slipped and the ball fell loose, Paul Bosvelt launched a long ball over the top towards the sprinting Nicholas Anelka to chase. With Paulo Ferreira the last line of defence he clumsily brought down the Frenchman and a penalty was awarded. Inexplicably, referee Howard Webb only awarded a yellow card to Ferreira but it didn’t matter in the end as Anelka coolly converted the penalty to put City ahead.

Manchester City v Chelsea

Inevitably, Chelsea did create a number of chances to equalise but found it difficult to penetrate City’s stubborn defence. Frank Lampard came closest when David James palmed his long range effort onto the post. With Richard Dunne and Sylvain Distin working wonders at the back, Jon Macken almost doubled City’s lead late on. Shaun Wright-Phillips worked some space on the right flank before teeing up the City striker to apply the finish. Macken’s shot hit the side netting and, in the process, fooled some of the Blues faithful into thinking it was a goal. It wasn’t to matter though and Keegan’s men held out much to the delight of a jubilant City of Manchester Stadium.

To make matters worse for Mourinho, the City fans playfully suggested that his, no doubt expensive, coat was, in fact, from Matalan. He must have taken the pain of defeat, and, perhaps, the insults about his coat to heart as Chelsea didn’t lost another league game all season and were crowned Premier League champions.

Keegan said after the game “We can dig in, roll our sleeves up and work for each other. That’s what we had to do today and it was enough to get a win which I am delighted with.” Jose Mourinho was altogether more brief and simply said “We lost and that’s reality.”

City XI

David James, Danny Mills, Sylvain Distin, Richard Dunne, Ben Thatcher, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Paul Bosvelt, Antoine Sibierski, Sun Jihai (Steve McManaman 43), Jon Macken, Nicholas Anelka.

Subs: Robbie Fowler, Ronald Waterreus, Willo Flood, Nedum Onuoha.

Manchester City v Chelsea

On this day Eric Prydz was sitting at number 2 in the UK Singles Chart with Call On Me.

Team America: World Police also premiered on this weekend in 2004.

Written by Robert Toole

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