Under-siege Chelsea retained a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League after repelling Manchester City at Stamford Bridge
Loic Remy, deputising for the suspended Diego Costa, struck four minutes before the break, but David Silva deflected in Sergio Aguero’s shot to restore parity.
It was no less than City deserved, having had the better of the opening 45 minutes, but the holders could not find a breakthrough in the second period in this 1-1 draw.
The visiting supporters sang, “Champions of England, we know what we are”, throughout, much to the bemusement of Jose Mourinho, who knew a point would consolidate his side’s advantage and be of little assistance to City’s bid to retain the title.
So fuming was Mourinho with Costa’s three-match ban for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can – something that likely only heightened his view of a “clear campaign” against Chelsea – that he stayed silent on the eve of the match.
But, dressed down in his club tracksuit, he stood on the edge of his technical area throughout and questioned every decision that had a hint of being contentious.
City tried to suffocate Chelsea, hoping to expose the fatigue of the additional 30 minutes against Liverpool, and the hosts were hemmed into their half for much of the second period.
Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s record goalscorer, came on for City with 14 minutes remaining to applause and the odd dissenting voice. He scored the equaliser in the September clash between the sides, but he was unable to do so on this occasion, leaving his former side in pole position for the title with 15 games remaining.
Still, Manchester City, who halted a run of two straight losses, have not won a Premier League game in the absence of Yaya Toure this season, and they are playing catch-up in the title fight.