Man City player ratings v Chelsea: One player scores 8/10 but three get 5/10 - gallery

Rodri's late goal rescued a point for Manchester City in the race for top spot.

Manchester City dropped points points in the title race on Saturday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Chelsea.

After seeing Liverpool comfortably beat Brentford earlier in the day, City knew a win on a few hours later would cut the gap to two points. Instead, it stands at four ahead of the midweek round of fixtures.

It could have been worse, and former City and Liverpool star Raheem Sterling could prove to have a significant contribution to the battle between his old sides at the league summit. His first-half goal gave Chelsea the advantage for nearly half the game, until Rodri's 83rd-minute shot earned the champions a well-deserved point.

City went into the game on the back of 11 straight wins and had accrued over 70 percent possession in the last four, but Chelsea offered a much stiffer test than their recent opponents.

It was Pep Guardiola’s side that saw the majority of the ball and had to patiently wait for openings. Julian Alvarez curled wide after two minutes, before the Argentinian’s cross was headed over by Haaland in the early throes.

But the visitors carried a threat on the break with a rapid attack of ex-City men Cole Palmer and Sterling, flanked either side of Nicolas Jackson. It was Sterling who had Chelsea’s first opening, although his curled shot was comfortably saved by Ederson. The City stopper was also on hand to smother Jackson’s effort after the striker’s heavy touch foiled a breakaway move from the side in dark blue.

But Ederson could do nothing to stop Chelsea grabbing the advantage just before the break as Palmer fed Jackson, who then shifted the ball out to Sterling on the left. In truth, it was a goal that felt so simplistic in its structure and execution, and Sterling managed to effortlessly cut inside and bypass Kyle Walker, before curling the ball into the goal. It’s an action the winger grew used to during his seven-year stint in Manchester, although there was no celebration on this occasion.

City did respond with two headers from Haaland before the break, one of which the Norwegian would have felt disappointed not to steer on target, while Alvarez’s shot was blocked.

The champions may have put together a run of 11 wins, but in that spell they’ve trailed to Everton, Newcastle United and Brentford, and there was certainly a sense of urgency after the break as Kevin De Bruyne curled a free-kick just wide and Haaland couldn’t connect properly with Phil Foden’s back-post cross inside the first five minutes after the break.

After a slow first half, the second period was more akin to the pace of proceedings at Stamford Bridge in November’s 4-4 draw. Ederson managed to keep out Sterling’s close-range effort, while a combination of the City keeper and Ruben Dias denied Ben Chilwell’s follow-up.

City were relentless as they moved the ball with ever greater intensity and speed. Foden saw his volley kept out by Dorde Petrovic, with Haaland unable to steer the resultant effort on target. It proved to be a frustrating evening for City’s no.9, who saw another effort saved in the 65th minute, while he failed to hit the target with a header from an excellent De Bruyne cross to the back post.

Chelsea had switched to a back five by then and were dropping ever deeper, as they aimed to become the first visiting side to win at the Etihad since November 2022. City have been ruthlessly efficient in the last 15 months at home, and there was no surprise when the hosts found an equaliser in the final 10 minutes. Rodri, the scorer of so many important goals in recent times, fired from the edge of the area to get City back on level terms.

But a winner wasn't forthcoming, as has been the case so often this season and City couldn't find a way through despite having 32 shots on the evening. Haaland did see another late chance flash wide and, in the final knockings of injury-time, Rodri's header deflected and rolled just inches off target as Guardiola's said were held at home.

Here's how we rated the City players.

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