Cole Palmer’s stoppage-time penalty denied former club Manchester City victory in a thriller against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
In a game of the highest quality in treacherous conditions, fortunes swung both ways.
City thought they had the three points when Rodri’s shot from the edge of the area touched off Thiago Silva past Chelsea keeper Robert Sanchez with four minutes left.
Chelsea, showing superb resilience, were not to be denied and Palmer – a £40m summer signing from Pep Guardiola’s side – stayed cool amid the mayhem to beat Ederson from the spot to leave City just a point clear of Liverpool at the Premier League summit.
The reigning champions led in contentious fashion after 25 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for Marc Cucurella’s pull on Erling Haaland, despite Chelsea’s protests that the full-back had been fouled first.
Haaland dispatched the penalty with ease, but the hosts were level four minutes later when Brazil centre-back Silva glanced home Conor Gallagher’s corner at the near post.
Chelsea turned the game around when Raheem Sterling also scored against his former club after 37 minutes, turning in Reece James’ cross after Josko Gvardiol’s mistake.
City, though, levelled on the stroke of half-time when the unmarked Manuel Akanji headed in Bernardo Silva’s cross.
Two minutes after the break City went in front again when Haaland scrambled in Julian Alvarez’s cross at the far post.
Yet Chelsea again battled back and deservedly drew level in the 67th minute when Nicolas Jackson pounced after Ederson pushed out Gallagher’s low drive.
Guardiola’s side thought they had won it with Rodri’s stroke of good fortune – until the late penalty drama capped an entertaining, eventful encounter.
Defender Ruben Dias was penalised for a foul on Chelsea substitute Armando Broja and Palmer’s calm finish left honours even.
Chelsea on the up
Chelsea – and manager Mauricio Pochettino – have not just had their most eventful week of the season, but their best week of the season.
The 4-1 win at Tottenham on Monday was overshadowed by the blizzard of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) interventions which reduced Chelsea’s opponents to nine men before striker Jackson’s hat-trick settled the outcome.
Here, the Londoners went toe-to-toe with Treble winners City in a magnificent, free-flowing eight-goal classic where no-one could begrudge them a point after Rodri’s deflected shot looked like it would inflict a cruel defeat on Pochettino’s men.
Their Argentine boss will understandably be dissatisfied with conceding four goals at home, even against a side of City’s threat and calibre, but Chelsea showed quality and huge reserves of character to come from behind three times.
It was a measure of the improvement that can finally be seen in the side under Pochettino and they must take great confidence from the performance and result.
Just days after being left out of the England squad once again by manager Gareth Southgate, forward Sterling was outstanding as a scorer and creator, his constant running and skill on the ball a problem for City throughout.
And Palmer again demonstrated what he has added to Chelsea since his arrival from City with that late, late penalty.
The 21-year-old’s arrival has certainly been Chelsea’s gain and he has been a real bright spot despite their indifferent early-season results.
On this evidence, the club are on the right track under Pochettino – even if there have been bumps in the road.
More to follow.
- 24JamesSubstituted forGustoat 64′minutes
- 6Thiago Silva
- 3CucurellaBooked at 22mins
- 25CaicedoBooked at 60minsSubstituted forBrojaat 90′minutes
- 8FernándezSubstituted forMudrykat 64′minutes
- 20PalmerBooked at 23mins
- 7SterlingBooked at 90mins
- 15JacksonBooked at 90minsSubstituted forUgochukwuat 90+6′minutes
- 3Rúben Dias
- 19ÁlvarezSubstituted forKovacicat 79′minutes
- 20Bernardo Silva
- 16RodriBooked at 72mins
- 11DokuBooked at 56minsSubstituted forGrealishat 59′minutesBooked at 90mins
- Anthony Taylor
Match ends, Chelsea 4, Manchester City 4.
Second Half ends, Chelsea 4, Manchester City 4.
Attempt missed. Kyle Walker (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.
Raheem Sterling (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Phil Foden (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Raheem Sterling (Chelsea).
Substitution, Chelsea. Lesley Ugochukwu replaces Nicolas Jackson.
Goal! Chelsea 4, Manchester City 4. Cole Palmer (Chelsea) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the top left corner.
Jack Grealish (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card.
Nicolas Jackson (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.
Penalty conceded by Rúben Dias (Manchester City) after a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty Chelsea. Armando Broja draws a foul in the penalty area.
Jack Grealish (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Conor Gallagher (Chelsea).
Foul by Erling Haaland (Manchester City).
Thiago Silva (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Erling Haaland (Manchester City).
Conor Gallagher (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Chelsea. Armando Broja replaces Moisés Caicedo.
Jack Grealish (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.