In the Premier League, Chelsea and Manchester City battled out an incredible 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge, with Cole Palmer dealing a crushing blow to his former employers.
The first 45 minutes of the weekend’s main match in West London lived up to the expectation, with goals from Erling Haaland, Thiago Silva, Raheem Sterling, and Manuel Akanji creating a frenzied four-goal first half.
Nicolas Jackson’s tap-in canceled out Haaland’s second goal of the game, and Rodri looked to have given the champions a late lead.
However, ex-Man City academy product Palmer struck the upper corner with an incredible penalty in the 95th minute to steal a point for Mauricio Pochettino’s team.
From the opening whistle, Palmer and Sterling were back with their previous employers for Chelsea, who also made a change at left-back when Marc Cucurella took Levi Colwill’s place.
Unfortunately for Cucurella, after a tangle in the box, Haaland and the Spaniard struck the deck, leading to yet another controversial VAR call in the twenty-first minute.
Three minutes after the spot kick was initially awarded, Cucurella grabbed hold of Haaland’s jersey, which referee Anthony Taylor considered worthy of a penalty.
Haaland then coolly sent Robert Sanchez the wrong way to break the tie. Both men were equally involved in the physical struggle.
Haaland’s goal turned Chelsea’s promising start into nothing, but Pochettino’s team did not give up and Reece James forced Ederson into an incredible save with a 28th-minute free kick as the Blues pressed for an immediate response.
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Thiago Silva’s dramatic charge to the front post to meet Conor Gallagher’s delivery produced the much-needed comeback for the hosts, as the 39-year-old’s looping header went across goal and into the side of the net in the 29th minute.
A former Chelsea target’s awful howler put the ball on a plate for a former Citizen to prod the Blues ahead just eight minutes after Silva’s equalizer.
Haaland and Phil Foden both went close to regaining the visitors’ advantage, but to no effect.
Josko Gvardiol looked to have cut out Palmer’s pass to James, but the Croatian unintentionally backheeled the ball into the right-back’s path, leaving James with an easy tap-in opportunity.
After Sanchez made a fantastic low stop on Haaland in the 42nd minute, the winger did not hesitate to celebrate in front of the away end, and the hosts would presumably go to the changing rooms with a one-goal advantage intact.
But, a set-piece would prove to be Chelsea’s undoing in the first minute of injury time, as a Citizens corner was played short to Bernardo Silva, whose outswinging delivery was headed into the net by Akanji; Sanchez fatally slipped as he attempted to scramble across his goal. Unfortunately, Chelsea had leveled the match through a corner.
In the 47th minute, the Argentine’s low delivery for Haaland ended with the sliding Scandinavian bundling the ball over the line via his backside.
The Stamford Bridge supporters hardly had time to catch their breath before the ball flew – or trickled – into the back of the net once more. Foden fed Julian Alvarez on the overlap.
After a fast VAR review disqualified a handball, Haaland’s second goal of the afternoon was confirmed. In the 52nd minute, Alvarez came dangerously close to becoming the goal scorer when he met Rodri’s header with a half-volley, which was Sanchez’s dream come true.
The chaos at Stamford Bridge persisted throughout the second half as Palmer dribbled past many former colleagues to carve out a great opening in the 61st minute, only to poke the ball straight at Ederson. Jeremy Doku was given a yellow card for diving.
Nevertheless, in the 67th minute, Jackson arrived to direct home and bring Pochettino’s team back level after the Brazilian goalkeeper, who momentarily required medical attention for an injury, was at fault for a third Chelsea goal.
Jackson had parried a long-range shot from Gallagher back into the danger area.
In the 75th minute, an unusual source had a fantastic opportunity to put Chelsea back ahead, but Malo Gusto curled over the bar after Sterling had set him up on the right, smashing the wet grass in exasperation.
After 86 minutes, ex-Blue Mateo Kovacic was crowded out on the edge of the box, but Rodri’s long-range fizzer nestled into the side of the net after a significant nick off Thiago Silva’s toe.
Gusto and Chelsea would eventually be left to rue that wasted opportunity.
The unfortunate deflection caught Sanchez completely off guard, but the Spaniard was beaming in the fifth minute of injury time when Ruben Dias tackled Armando Broja inside the area and Palmer looked completely unfazed as he found the postage stamp to cut his former club’s title hopes short early on.
Taylor ended an incredible match with a last-gasp free kick over the top from Kyle Walker, but not before Pochettino stormed onto the pitch to confront the referee after his team was denied a potential breakaway by the referee’s final whistle.
The champions’ tie keeps them atop the standings, but their lead over Liverpool and Arsenal is only one point. Chelsea, on the other hand, has surpassed Brentford once more to take 10th position in the standings thanks to their better goal differential.
After the international break, Pochettino’s team will go to Newcastle United, and Pep Guardiola’s treble winners will play Liverpool at the Etihad in the afternoon on November 25.