Chelsea remain five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League standings after sharing the spoils in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at Stamford Bridge.
Loic Remy tapped in an Eden hazard pull back from close range to place Chelsea in front four minutes to the break but David Silva swept home Sergio Aguero’s shot to draw level at half time.
New York City loanee Frank Lampard came on for Fernando in the 76th minute to a reception of more applause than jeers.
A win would have put the ‘Blues’ eight points clear of their opponent with 15 games to go, but missing the combative duo of Cesc Fabregas (injured) and Diego Costa (suspended), avoiding defeat was of the essence for the London hosts, who for the first time since the 2003/04 season managed just three shots in total.
Man City, who on their own part have struggled in the absence of their talismanic midfielder Yaya Toure, twice came close to scoring in the opening 12 minutes, with Fernandinho’s blasting the second of those attempts just wide of goal after Branislav Ivanovic lost possession on the edge of his area.
Both sides looked dangerous on the break in the opening half hour. City appeared the better side and another Ivanovic error almost resulted to an opening goal for the visitors. The Chelsea defender made a meal of a goal area clearance, allowing James Milner to snatch the ball from his feet and lay a pass to Sergio Aguero, whose angled drive was parried by Thibout Courtois.
Chelsea players’s appeal for a penalty for what appeared a Martin Demichelis hand ball lacked substance. Aguero was chasing the ensuing long clearance moments later when captain John Terry misjudged the bounce to let the Argentine through on goal, but he blasted his shot wide.
And just as Chelsea appeared to build some momentum on the ball, Ivanovic made up for some few earlier mistakes orchestrating the move that led to the opener. He tailored a deep cross to Hazard, whose low shot across goal was side-footed in by Remy. Game On!
And City came up with an immediate response with Silva sticking out his foot to divert into the Chelsea net an Aguero goal-wards effort after Courtois had raced off his line to make a clearance.
The second half began much like the first but lacked real moment of excitement; Chelsea on the back foot and now resorting to a more defensive approach.
James Milner, who had dropped deeper following the introduction of Blues legend Lampard, came up with the best chance of the second half after being set through on goal by Silva but watched his curled effort from the far post drift wide.
The champions turned up the heat in the closing stage, at whose point Chelsea had stopped committing players upfront. All said Jose Mourinho’s men successfully held out for a draw to retain hopes of winning a third title under the Portuguese boss.