The Blues did not play well, they were disjointed and unbalanced, they missed another penalty and their only goal came from a defensive error by the visitors.
But the fact that City are only fielding two players who are certain of a starting spot on May 29 but still haven’t lost to the Londoners, who were fielding a much stronger squad, made that result almost out of the picture. about.
The only result is that instead of needing one in four games to be champions, they now need one in three – and that might not even go that far, as Manchester United’s pursuit Now have three games before City travel to Newcastle on Friday night.
Kevin De Bruyne wasn’t even on the bench, and John Stones was suspended, but Pep Guardiola retained Kyle Walker, Aleks Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez from the squad he would have sent off if it was the European final.
This meant City had an unusual and unknown roster which explained their dysfunctional performance, in a game in which three points would have won the Premier League title.
Thomas Tuchel also left out a few key men – notably Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Jorginho – as both managers refused to reveal their hands full ahead of the final.
It got talked about as a dress rehearsal for the redundant finale.
It was a much bigger game for Tuchel and Chelsea as they still nervously watched over their shoulders West Ham and Liverpool in search of Champions League places.
But try saying that to the city fans who cheered the team buses from the training ground to the stadium, in freezing rain, and hoped to hang out to greet the newly crowned champions afterwards.
Chelsea have now won their last two meetings with City, but they have yet to meet the real deal, the City side who have led this Premier League campaign and reached the Champions League final.
Older, nostalgic city fans of the city might even hope that the DO Blues have to travel to St James’ Park on Friday night to secure the crown.
They did exactly that in 1968, when they were also locked into a fight with United, and in a year of losing Colin Bell, the lungs of this great team, there could not be a more fitting tribute.