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Chelsea rob Man City of home comforts

MANCHESTER, England -- Chelsea defied Manchester City's scintillating home form with a superb 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Monday that injected fresh intrigue into the Premier League title race.

Imperious in recent weeks, City were looking to reclaim the top spot from Arsenal and move six points above Chelsea, but it was the visitors who prevailed thanks to a 32nd-minute bullet by Branislav Ivanovic.

City had won all 11 of their previous home league games this season, losing only to European champions Bayern Munich on home turf, while it was the first time they had failed to score at the Etihad in the league since November 2010.

The hosts had been seeking a ninth successive league win, but instead Jose Mourinho's Chelsea were left to celebrate a home-and-away double, having beaten City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in October's reverse fixture.

Despite the result, Mourinho played down his side's chances of winning the league, insisting City were still the favorites.

“This season is about evolution. We can (win the title) if they (City) lose it,” said the Chelsea manager.

“Arsenal are working for many, many years for the evolution of their team. What we are doing this season is what Arsenal have been building to for years.”

Mourinho also saw his team hit the woodwork on three occasions, but Ivanovic's vicious strike proved enough as they moved level on points with City, two points shy of leaders Arsenal.

“It's just three points. Now we have 42 more points to play for,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini.

“Chelsea played very well, but we had important players out missing. A lot of things like this affect the result, but even so, I don't think we deserved to lose the game.”

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 Miserable night at wrong time for Manning 
Manchester City's David Silva, right, attempts an airborne shot under pressure from Chelsea's Nemanja Matic during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England on Monday, Feb. 3. (AP)

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