Lampard saves City but won't celebrate goal against Chelsea
Blues legend scores against his old club and thanks both sets of fans after emotional game
Manchester City 1 Chelsea 1. A match that offered little in the way of entertainment in the first hour ended in incredible fashion as Frank Lampard scored against his old club to give Manchester City a share of the points against Chelsea.
Lampard left Stamford Bridge in the summer after 13 seasons and a record 211 goals in 648 appearances. A Chelsea legend of the highest order, the 36-year-old veteran heads over the Pond next year to end his illustrious career playing for New York City in the MLS. In the meantime he's whiling away his time on loan with the Sky Blues – whose Abu Dhabi owners also own the New York club – but no one imagined he would find time to score a vital goal against his former employers.
It came five minutes from time, and not long after Andre Schurrle had given the visitors the lead. Had the result remained at 1-0 Chelsea's lead over City would have stretched to eight points but then Lampard intervened on 85 minutes, latching on to James Milner cross with a volley that beat Thibaut Courtois.
Despite the wild scenes on the terraces, Lampard – who has now scored against a record 39 different clubs in the Premier League – couldn't find it in himself to celebrate with the City fans. He appeared close to tears at full time and was still in muted mode when cornered by the TV cameras at the game's end. "It was a difficult day for me at the end because what do you do? You're caught in the middle," he confessed. "What was a win for me today? Maybe a draw and keeping the Premier League close and a reception from both sets of fans that I won't forget."
There were no hard feelings from Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who offered a philosophical assessment of the remarkable end to the game. "When a player leaves another club and plays for a direct opponent, he is not going there for a holiday he is going there to try and beat his club - the one everyone considers the club of his heart, but not any more," he explained. "While at City he wants to beat Chelsea. That is the nature of football."
But Mourinho wasn't so forgiving when informed that City manager Manuel Pellegrini had taken a pot-shot at Chelsea, describing them as "a small team" whose defensive mindset did football no favours. Interrupting the reporter's question, an irritated Mourinho said of his City rival: "Many times he says he doesn't speak about me or my team, but he continues to do so. Don't ask me about these words."
On a weekend of Premier League action described by Mourinho as "crazy", Chelsea remain three points clear at the top of the table but the chasing pack has now closed on the Blues with Southampton and Aston Villa tied on second with ten points and Arsenal lying fourth on nine. It was a good weekend for the Gunners, whose 3-0 thrashing of Villa ensured they collected maximum points while none of their traditional rivals – City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs, Everton and Manchester United – managed a victory.
"The Premier League is not just different it is crazy," stated Mourinho. "You have Chelsea 6-3 against Everton, Manchester United winning 3-1 and [then] losing 5-3 to Leicester. The Premier League is becoming crazy."