London, Nov. 12, 2023
Chelsea’s rip-roaring 4-4 draw with Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday sent a resounding signal that Mauricio Pochettino’s new-look side are finally finding their feet.
This was after a faltering start to the season for the Blues.
The hosts came from behind three times at Stamford Bridge and their never-say-die spirit was rewarded.
This was when Ruben Dias slid into substitute Armando Broja and former City striker Cole Palmer thumped home the penalty in the 94th minute.
That last-gasp leveller was nothing less than the hosts deserved.
It was a game which saw City take the lead via an Erling Haaland penalty before Chelsea went 2-1 up with goals from Thiago Silva and Raheem Sterling.
Only for Manuel Akanji to make it 2-2, all before halftime.
Haaland restored City’s lead a minute into the second half but 20 minutes later Nicolas Jackson pounced to make it 3-3.
Rodri seemed to have won all three points for City with a deflected 86th-minute shot, before Palmer’s late penalty.
Stamford Bridge erupted in celebration under a downpour at the final whistle, even if the point left the Londoners in 10th place in the table.
They have now only won once in their last 14 home league games, a run stretching back into their disastrous 2022/2023 campaign.
But those statistics speak of the Blues recent past – which has included home defeats to Nottingham Forest and Brentford.
Whereas the talk on Sunday was of what might lie ahead, coming on the heels of Monday’s 4-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur, albeit against a nine-man Spurs.
Pochettino said his “project from zero” with Chelsea’s newly and expensively rebuilt squad was progressing.
He said he hoped the draw against City represented two steps forward after more hesitant progress earlier in the season.
“This type of performance I think we need to use for the future,” the Argentine said.
City coach Pep Guardiola was effusive in his praise of his opponents who had failed to even score against City in their previous six league and cup encounters.
All of the six previous encounters were won by the Sky Blues.
The last time Chelsea beat City was in Champions League final in 2021.
Their fortunes have diverged sharply since then with City winning the Premier League twice and the Champions League this year.
While Chelsea’s form was so bad last campaign they fired coaches Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter.
“They are a fantastic team with an experienced manager with a traditional club with a lot of titles in the last 20 years.
“They are starting to build something new from now on,” City coach Pep Guardiola told reporters.