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Post-match analysis: Chelsea’s draw against Man City could mark significant turning point

Stamford Bridge witnessed another Premier League classic as Chelsea and Manchester City rounded off Matchday 12 with a pulsating 4-4 draw.

Man City academy graduate Cole Palmer returned to haunt the Cityzens, earning his new employers a valuable point against the defending Champions on home turf.

Erling Braut Haaland initially put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot, only for Thiago Silva to swiftly equalise with a header from a corner, setting a record as Chelsea’s oldest scorer at 39 years.

Raheem Sterling, another ex-Man City player, notched a tap-in against his former club, but Manuel Akanji responded with a free header to level the score on the stroke of half-time.

Haaland doubled his tally in the second half, edging Man City ahead once again. However, Chelsea displayed resilience, with Nicolas Jackson capitalising on a rebound to score his fourth goal in two games.

Rodri appeared to have notched the match-winner for Man City with a deflected effort in the 86th minute. But Chelsea would not fold, with Palmer displaying nerves of steel to salvage a point for the Blues.

It was no less than Chelsea deserved after a manic game of football. They showed character, a top mentality and a never-say-die attitude to take a well-deserved point into the international break.

Against the odds, they delivered what could be considered their best performance of the season, halting a six-match losing streak against the reigning champions.

Looking beyond the remarkable accomplishment of scoring 4+ goals against Man City – a feat last achieved by Leicester City in September 2020 – Pochettino’s side deserve credit for their exceptional performance.

They demonstrated tremendous effort, and it was only fitting that the ex-Man City duo Palmer and Sterling stole the spotlight in the highly entertaining fixture.

Sterling was a livewire down the left, repeatedly turning Kyle Walker inside out, and his goal, albeit a tap-in, was no less than he deserved for a standout performance.

The 28-year-old contested and won the most duels (9/12), attempted and completed the most successful take-ons (3/10), won the most possession in the final third (3) and registered the most successful ball recoveries (8).

It was his most impressive performance this season – a display perhaps equalled by Palmer, who offered his former employers a first-hand view at the calibre of player they released during the summer.

The 21-year-old prodigy registered more successful passes into the final third (7) than any other player on the pitch in a man-of-the-match performance at the Bridge.

Each of Palmer’s four penalties for Chelsea has been more high-pressure than the last. But he demonstrated a world-class mentality by confidently converting his last-minute spot-kick past Ederson.

As each game unfolds, the young talent consistently proves to be a smart investment at £40 million, seamlessly transitioning from the fringes at Man City to a pivotal component in Pochettino’s revitalised Blues side.

Considering their roller-coaster form at the start of the season, it was unsurprising that Chelsea were expected to struggle heading into a tricky seven-match run after October’s international break.

However, four games into this demanding stretch, they’ve garnered five points against Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, and Man City, with the sole setback coming in a disheartening 2-0 loss to Brentford.

This reinvigorated Chelsea side have fearlessly gone head-to-head with clubs in the ‘Big Six,’ securing points against Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Man City, showing they are not afraid to take on the big boys.

The issue for Pochettino’s team is their inability to break down teams employing low blocks, evident in their defeats to West Ham United, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Brentford.

This Chelsea squad is young and largely inexperienced, but Pochettino has done an outstanding job of galvanising a group of promising talents that have started to provide the goods.

The prospect of this team will unfold with time, but the draw against Man City could mark a significant turning point for the Blues, who will carry their morale-boosting point to Newcastle United when club football resumes.

Games against Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United complete a challenging seven-match run, but the Blues will fancy their chances of picking up positive results.

Emerging from the challenging stretch unscathed would not only enhance the team’s confidence but also propel them with renewed vigour towards securing a top-four position.

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