Chelsea became the first side to take the lead at the Etihad stadium this season, but could not hold on as goals from Aguero and Nasri gave the home side all 3 points, and ended Roberto Di Matteo’s 100% record in charge.
This game meant a lot to both sides, as City were looking to close the gap on neighbours Manchester United, and Chelsea needed to gain points on both Arsenal and Spurs, who also played tonight.
The home side started the better, Samir Nasri nearly completed a great ball from Yaya Toure, but although his lofted effort had Cech beaten, he saw the ball cannon off the woodwork and bounce back out.
Shortly afterwards, the visitors were forced to make their first substitution, Ivanovic started limping, but carried on for 5 minutes before succumbing to the pain and came off for the more attack-minded Jose Bosingwa.
Chelsea started to get into the game more, but couldn’t create any clear cut opportunity, although they looked dangerous on the wings.
Frank Lampard then gave Balotelli a great opportunity as his misplaced pass saw the Italian race through on goal. Luiz wasn’t catching him, and they could only watch as he struggled and dragged his shot wide, courtesy of a Petr Cech fingertip.
The half-time whistle came and it was greeted by muffles from the Etihad crowd, who were visibly unhappy with the first half performance.
The hosts came out the strongest, Nasri hitting the bar for the second time with a delightful chip. However, against the run of play, on the hour mark, Gary Cahill turned in the area, and his shot took a wicked deflection before nestling into Harts net, sending the away contingent crazy, and the home fans were silent.
Tevez came on for Nigel De Jong, and Drogba was on for Torres, as Man City pushed for an equaliser, this was the first time they had been behind at the Etihad all season.
Chelsea were keeping their cool, but the home team pressed and pressed, that until Pablo Zabaleta struck a shot against the hand of Michael Essien, leaving the referee with no choice.
Sergio Aguero stepped up, and slotted home, breathing new life into the home fans, and the Chelsea team were on the ropes.
It was all uphill for the away side then, as the crowd got behind their team and pushed them on. The fate was sealed in the 85th minute, as a lovely worked move was finished delightfully by Samir Nasri, following a backhell from Tevez.
The Blues pushed forward, but never came close to equalising, as the 3 points were ripped cruelly from their grasp. With Tottenham drawing and Arsenal winning, the game against Spurs this weekend could not be any bigger.
By Brad Smith