Wayne Bridge and Carlos Tevez put a turbulent week of personal problems behind them and showed immense bravery and professionalism as Manchester City boosted their chances of a top four finish by putting top of the table Chelsea to the sword at Stamford Bridge.
All pre-match attention was focused on Wayne Bridge and John Terry and whether or not Bridge would shake the hand of his former friend and teammate.
Bridge, who has behaved admirably throughout this episode, refused the outstretched hand of the Chelsea captain, which in turn led to him being booed all afternoon by the home crowd.
The man whose supposed friend, former Chelsea teammate and current England teammate, had an alleged affair with his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his son, was booed.
The man who has sacrificed his chances of playing in a World Cup for the benefit of the England squad was booed. If anything, Bridge deserved a moment of appreciation from the crowd and the standing ovation he did get from the City fans when he was substituted was fitting.
To retain his composure in the face of the man who has no doubt caused him extreme personal turmoil, knowing that the world was watching and knowing that the world was willing him to punch Terry square on the jaw and knowing that the world would have applauded him for doing it, took a phenomenal effort and some good old-fashioned Johnny Giles style moral courage.
One man who did show he appreciated Wayne Bridge’s effort was someone who has had a pretty tough few weeks himself, Carlos Tevez.
Tevez, who is no doubt one of the players of the season, had just arrived back in England from Argentina where he was with his partner who prematurely gave birth to their second child.
Not ideal preparation for a match but typical of Tevez he gave 100 per cent and was the catalyst for a storming City comeback. Also aware of his team mate’s troubles he made sure he pointed out Bridge to their supporters. That type of selfless attitude has made him a hugely popular player wherever he’s gone.
He also squared up to John Terry for little or no reason. He deserves a pat on the back from Bridge for having his back and I’m sure Bridge will feel indebted to his Argentinean team mate.
Another man who exemplified the City player’s togetherness was Craig Bellamy who took a verbal swipe at John Terry after the game.
Bellamy told Sky Sports 1: “I know what JT is like and nothing surprises me about it, so I’m not going to comment on that. I think everybody in football knows what the guy is like, but that’s off the field.
“On it he’s an outstanding player. He’s a great captain for Chelsea. It’s always going to be difficult when you play him and his team.”
He also seemed to turn away from terry when he shook his hand and mouth something horribly impolite about him.
Take that Terry!
So what of Mr Terry and Chelsea? Difficult times right now for the Blues. Terry is out of form, Ashley Cole is missing for probably the rest of the season, Petr Cech is out for a month with only Hilario the hilarious to replace him and their midfield juggernaut Michael Essien is also missing.
Couple those injuries with the off-field problems involving Cole and Terry and one might think the wheels are starting to come off.
There are also signs that the shenanigans with Terry and now Cole are affecting the team. How many would have expected Chelsea to capitulate like that? At home?
In previous seasons Chelsea’s team spirit and togetherness seemed impenetrable but these latest scandals seem to have damaged the squad and at the same time invigorated city to give their best performance this season.
City’s togetherness and a returning Carlos Tevez were the difference between the two sides. If they can keep it up they might just make fourth place. If Chelsea play like that in two weeks, Jose Mourinho will be a very happy man and Chelsea will be out of Europe