Defending champ City defeats Chelsea
Manchester City were grateful for a penalty save from Joe Hart and goals from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez as a 2-0 win over Chelsea allowed the defending Premier League champions to claw back some ground in the title race.
Goalkeeper Hart played a part in City's crucial win at Etihad Stadium by saving a penalty from Frank Lampard in the 52nd minute, denying the England midfielder his 200th goal for Chelsea.
Eleven minutes later, Toure delivered a composed finish after dribbling inside the area and substitute Tevez sealed victory by smashing in a finish from 25 yards in the 85th, ending City's damaging three-match winless run in the league.
The result kept City 12 points behind Manchester United and moved the defending champions seven points clear of third-place Chelsea, giving renewed hope to Tottenham and Arsenal behind them in the race for the Champions League spots. Spurs will go third by beating West Ham on Monday.
Bristling with energy and intensity, it was one of City's most convincing displays of a season in which it has struggled to reproduce the form of last season.
With United tightening its grip on top spot by beating Queens Park Rangers 2-0 on Saturday, this match was arguably more important because of its impact on the fight for second place. Chelsea had closed the gap to four points before kickoff due to City only picking up two points in its last three games, but was chasing shadows for much of the game.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech kept Chelsea in the game early on with smart saves from Toure, Matija Nastasic and Jack Rodwell, while Sergio Aguero will regret trying to round Cech instead of shooting first time after being played through by David Silva.
The visitors' defense - missing captain John Terry, who started on the bench - stood firm but their attacking threat remained non-existent until Demba Ba pounced on a lofted pass from midfield and fell under minimal contact from Hart. Lampard struck his spot-kick hard and low but Hart dived to his right to claw it away.
City regained the upper hand and after Aguero fluffed another chance by clipping a chip over the bar when one-on-one with Cech, Toure gave his team the lead.
The Ivory Coast midfielder, playing in an attacking role behind Aguero, collected Silva's pass, drifted round John Obi Mikel's flimsy challenge and curled a shot inside the far post from 10 yards (meters).
Tevez had come on as a substitute by then and he helped further stretch the Chelsea defense before scoring his seventh goal in nine league appearances against Chelsea, leaving Cech no chance with an arrowed shot into the corner.