City’s unbeaten Premier League record survived the Stamford Bridge acid test after a bruising meeting between the English and European champions.
In the process of extending their invincible run to 19 matches, City climbed to within a point of the Premier League summit with a second goalless draw in London in the space of a month.
In truth, neither side quite did enough in the final third to merit the three points and Roberto Mancini won’t be too disappointed with a point from what has been an unhappy hunting ground in previous years for the Blues.
Roman Abramovich’s decision to appoint Rafa Benitez as interim manager dominated much of the pre-match talk going into this clash of the former Inter bosses.
A Champions League title and an FA Cup was deemed an inadequate return from Roberto Di Matteo’s eight months in charge and so the Russian sword of Damocles fell, only to rise again above the former Liverpool man.
Of course, it was here in the capital on 12 December 2011 that City lost last season’s unblemished record but the champions were clearly in no mood to let history repeat itself in this Super Sunday encounter 11 months on.
City capitalised on the negative energy from the terraces with a robust performance in which they limited Chelsea to just one shot on target.
Benitez’s first act as Chelsea manager was to restore his former Anfield sharpshooter Fernando Torres to the line-up with the fearsome trident of Mata, Oscar and Hazard in behind.
Mancini opted for energy and grit in the centre of midfield, with James Milner and Gareth Barry providing the protection alongside Yaya Toure and for that reason, it was an unsurprisingly tight and tense opening 20 minutes reminiscent of tight “big four” clashes of the mid-noughties.
City’s first chance arrived after 20 minutes when Pablo Zabaleta burst down the right flank and crossed for one of the smallest men on the pitch, David Silva to head a yard over the bar.
There was a strange flat atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge and City fashioned a wonderful opportunity to silence the home fans even further after 41 minutes but Aguero could only head into Petr Cech’s grateful arms when he really should have scored.
Benitez went into this game unbeaten in 10 games against City going back to his time on Merseyside but the new manager effect seemed to paralyse rather than galvanize a sub-par Chelsea at an unhappy Stamford Bridge.
Toure was the first to test a goalkeeper after the restart, stinging Cech’s fingers with a powerful volley from 30 yards.
The Premier League’s stingiest defence ensured a torrid afternoon for Torres who still looked some way short of his devastating best but he did nearly give his side the lead on the hour mark when he found a yard of space but his shot was fired over the bar.
It was turning into a game that could have been played until Christmas without anyone finding the back of the net but with 15 minutes to go Ashley Cole nearly broke this deadest of deadlocks with a blistering drive which Joe Hart did well to tip over.
A draw with the European champions to take City another point up on the equivalent fixtures of their title-winning season and well on course to retain their crown.