James Thwarts Chelsea (Sky Sports)
Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0
David James produced a world-class save in the last of five minutes of stoppage time to earn Manchester City a goalless draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Kevin Keegan's side are the only team to defeat the Premiership leaders in domestic action this season and they became only the third team to take a point at the Bridge thanks to James' stunning save.
A ten-minute spell before the interval aside, Chelsea had laboured to break down a City defence in which Richard Dunne was outstanding alongside his captain Sylvain Distin, yet their big chance came in the 95th minute.
Paulo Ferreira hoisted a free-kick into the penalty area and after John Terry headed on, the ball broke to Frank Lampard 10 yards from goal. His first-time volley was sweetly struck, low to James' right, but the giant keeper stuck out a hand to turn the ball away.
James, named in the England squad for Wednesday's friendly against Holland but unlikely to start, had sent a reminder of his abilities to watching national coach Sven-Goran Eriksson with a string of top-drawer saves before his point-saver.
City had kept their hosts at bay for the first half an hour, before Chelsea finally came to life, laying siege to the visitors' goal in a frantic 10-minute spell.
Mateja Kezman missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock after James parried Damien Duff's fierce shot, shinning the ball wide of the post from close range, before Lampard's drive cannoned back off the keeper's chest but evaded three blue shirts following up for the rebound.
James then tipped over Jiri Jarosik's header, before a powerful headed effort from William Gallas was cleared off the line by Paul Bosvelt.
City's goal was living a charmed life, but when the ball broke from Bosvelt's thigh to Danny Mills, his long punt set up a golden chance for Keegan's men to take the lead.
Shaun Wright-Phillips skipped away from Claude Makelele and crossed left-footed - Eriksson will have noted - towards Robbie Fowler, who somehow managed to head wide of the near post from six yards as Terry slipped in front of him.
That was City's only clear-cut chance to end Petr Cech's record-breaking run without conceding a goal as the Chelsea keeper went on to keep his ninth consecutive clean sheet in the Premiership.
Chelsea through on Tiago and Joe Cole in a bid to open up the City defence, but created few opportunities. Bosvelt clattered Duff on the edge of the penalty area and Lampard's well-struck free-kick was booted away by James.
When referee Howard Webb added on five minutes at the end, Chelsea's spirits were briefly lifted as they sensed they had time to clinch a 21st win of the season and re-establish an 11-point lead over Manchester United.
Tiago helped the ball on into the penalty for Eidur Gudjohnsen, but just as he was about to pull the trigger, Dunne nicked the ball off his toes and cleared over his own bar.
Still there was time for one last chance, but James denied Lampard and City, who also drew at Old Trafford and Highbury, had made their point.
Chelsea Cech, Paulo
Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Bridge, Jarosik (Tiago 56), Lampard, Makelele, Duff,
Gudjohnsen, Kezman (Cole 63)
Subs Not Used Johnson, Smertin, Cudicini
Booked Makelele, Gudjohnsen.
James, Mills, Distin, Dunne, Thatcher, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, Barton,
Sibierski (McManaman 85), Musampa, Fowler
Subs Not Used Macken, Weaver, Onuoha, Jordan
Referee H Webb (S Yorkshire)
|Chelsea||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||1|
|5||Shots off Target||4|