Manchester City’s Premier League home run has finally come to an end as Branislav Ivanovic scored the only goal that gave chelsea the 3 points at the Etihad.
City had won their previous 11 league fixtures at the Etihad this season – and had scored at least in their last 61, stretching back to November 2010 – but their fortress was raided by their title rivals on Monday night.
Jose Mourinho masterminded a narrow success that drew his side level with City on 53 points – two behind leaders Arsenal – with 14 games left to play.
Chelsea were unfortunate not to win by a larger margin. After Ivanovic lashed the visitors in front from the edge of the area on 32 minutes, they hit the woodwork three times through Samuel Eto’o, Nemanja Matic and Gary Cahill.
David Silva threatened to snatch an equaliser as City pushed hard in the final stages, but Manuel Pellegrini could have few complaints about the result on a night when Chelsea displayed discipline and no shortage of skill, with Eden Hazard their stand-out performer in attack and Matic impressing in a central role on his first Chelsea start after been resigned.
City were without midfielder Fernandinho who was forced out with an injury, giving Martin Demichelis to move into midfield and Matija Nastasic returned in defence. Alvaro Negredo was restored up front for the injured Sergio Aguero.
Chelsea left playmaker Oscar on the bench as they adopted a more defensive approach, with David Luiz and Matic replacing him and John Obi Mikel.
With three minutes to the end of normal time, Mourinho was displeased when last defender Nastasic was only booked for hauling down substitute Oscar on the halfway line.
Cech was called into action once more in stoppage time to deny Jovetic’s fiercely-struck effort, while Nastasic miskicked when left unmarked in the area at the death.
Chelsea hung on for a victory which saw them become the first team to do the double over City since Everton in 2010/11 – and they could now overtake both Pellegrini’s team and leaders Arsenal if results go their way at home on Saturday when they welcome Newcastle.