It's all new money round here. The peerages are bought, the accents are slipping, and they haven't decanted the port, for goodness sake. And one hears the last time these ghastly parvenus got together, there was some awful brouhaha in the billiard room over a lady.
There'll be no brawling in the parlour today. No Wayne Bridge, y'see. Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Toure, Boyata, Milner, De Jong, Barry, Toure Yaya, Silva, Tevez.Subs: Given, Adebayor, Adam Johnson, Boateng, Lescott, Vieira, Jo.
4-2 this lot got stuffed last time round, at home and all: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Essien, Malouda, Drogba, Anelka. Subs: Turnbull, Zhirkov, Ferreira, Sturridge, Van Aanholt, Kakuta, McEachran.
Umpiring the rubber: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)
Kick off: 12.45pm.
On Sky, a pre-match insight into the managerial genius of Graeme Souness: "Tactics. It's not that I don't like 'em, but it's a word that's used too much." Comment is superfluous.
To the up-to-the-minute dance stylings of Fatboy Slim, 73, the teams run out, right here, right now. City in their slightly-too-dark version of the traditional powder-blue shirts, Chelsea in a black-and-neon-orange get-up, the only nod to tradition there a grab for the Ibrox pound. Interestingly, captain John Terry's face seems to be exactly the same shade of neon orange today. I hope he's alright. If he's worked himself up into one of his states, there'll be hell to pay.
And we're off! City set the ball rolling. They launch it long, straight down the middle, and it's easily dealt with by Terry and Alex.
2 min: Terry is, of course, in this post-Peroncell world, getting absolute pelters from the home crowd. Booooo whistle boooooo etc. Nothing much else happening so far.
3 min: Brilliant defending by Ivanovic here. Silva sprays a beautiful pass down the left for Milner. The wee England man buzzes around, and for a second looks like nipping off with the ball, clear on goal, but the Chelsea full back holds firm, keeps control of the ball, and eventually buys a free kick from the busy Milner. Decent play all round, actually.
5 min: Both teams have taken turns to pass it around awhile in the midfield. Chelsea attempt to spring down the wing, Cole nearly being freed on the overlap by Ramires, but Boyata and Kompany crowd him out.
6 min: Ivanovic absolutely clatters Milner with a perfectly fair tackle down the left. Ooyah oof. Milner will have to be at the top of his game to get anything down this flank, if the first few minutes are anything to go by.
7 min: De Jong rolls a pass down the inside-right channel for Tevez, who rakes an early shot from 30 yards wide left of goal. That was never looking dangerous, but a clever idea, because Cech didn't look perfectly positioned had that found the corner.
8 min: City are looking bright and fresh here. Now Silva tears clear down the left and stands one up into the centre. Tevez is lurking, but Cech plucks the ball from the air.
10 min: Zabaleta is upended by Ivanovic down the left, not far from the byline. Milner fizzes a cross into the box. Cech comes out and flaps at the ball, but manages to turn it away from a gaggle of lurking blue shirts. City are well on top; Chelsea need to weather this storm.
11 min: Chelsea finally get their act together. Anelka cuts inside from the left and delivers a majestic ball to the far post, where Drogba chests down and looks to shoot. He can't quite get the ball out from under his feet, though, and it's hacked away by Toure.
13 min: John Terry misplaces a pass, to the high amusement of Eastlands.
14 min: De Jong and Drogba attempt to recreate the Anton Ferdinand / Cesc Fabregas farce at the Stadium of Light last weekend. The ball goes wide left of goal, though, and out of play. That would have paid the aforementioned high amusement back in spades.
16 min: Anelka looks really up for this against one of his 384 old clubs. He skidaddles down the centre, nearly opening City up. Eventually he lays off right to Malouda, who rolls the ball to Drogba, who takes a shot that's easily blocked. Chelsea are beginning to get back into this.
18 min: It's an open game in midfield, but it shuts down completely when either team approaches the business end of the pitch. Silva and Zabaleta both take whacks at the Chelsea goal that are easily dealt with; then Anelka attempts a curler into the top-right corner from distance after cutting inside from the left. Neither keeper has had much to do.
20 min: Yaya Toure loses the ball 25 yards from his own goal, Mikel proving a real hassle to him. The ball runs to Essien, dead centre; he drags a low shot wide left.
21 min: Hart nearly charges from his area, totally needlessly, with a view to creating a facsimilie copy of the Blackburn incident, before thinking better of it. He used to be so good, this lad. Why did England have to pick him? We all know how things turn out for keepers when that happens.
24 min: City win a corner down the right. The ball's swung in to the near post by Milner. Toure guides a header towards the top-left corner, guide being the operative word: it's a gentle nudge, easily gathered by Cech. Will somebody do something vaguely dangerous, please?
26 min: Now it's Chelsea's turn to win a corner, Ramires earning it with a powerful run down the left. From it, Malouda picks up the ball on the left-hand corner of the box, and swings it to the far post, where Zabaleta crashes a header against the right-hand post, then sends another centrally-placed effort into the hands of Hart. So unlucky; City were all over the place there.
28 min: Anelka tears down the right, cuts inside, and shapes to shoot. But before he can cock his leg, Boyata is over to block. Magnificent tackle. From the resulting corner, nada.
30 min: Mikel is lucky to escape a booking for a clear block on Tevez 25 yards out, down the inside-left channel. The free kick, from Silva, is so witless.
34 min: Chelsea pass it around hither and yon. Eventually, in great frustration, Zabaleta slides in from the right and flips Ivanovic into the air like an old sock. He's booked for his trouble. Meanwhile, it's quiet round here, isn't it. But you can always rely on Gary Naylor! "The absurd star on the even more absurd 'stag night in Southend' tattoo affected by Wayne Bridge in your photo reminds me of the recent habit of placing a star on the breast of the national shirt to indicate World Cup wins," he writes. "I know Italy and Spain do it, but is it just them? Pretty sure England don't, but maybe they're embarrassed about the easy ride and the referee (vs Argentina) and the linesman (vs you know who)." You're just spoiling for a fight today, aren't you. City, incidentally, have three gold stars above their badge. God alone knows what for. Maybe they're a reward for the good spelling on the crest, or the nice drawing of an eagle. Well done, everyone! Let's pop that up on the fridge.
37 min: A free kick for City down the left, not for the first time this game. And once again, Silva wastes it, the ball failing to beat the first man. Lordy lordy. He needs to get his gameface on, and quick.
39 min: It's end to end all of a sudden. First Tevez bustles outside the Chelsea area. Then Essien nearly sets Chelsea on a three-on-two romp in the City half, only for Yaya Toure to put a stop to his gallop. And finally the busy and determined Tevez has a looping swipe at goal from distance, but it's gathered easily by Cech.
41 min: Milner slams a hard, low cross into the Chelsea six-yard area from the left. Tevez is sliding in, but Terry deals with the danger brilliantly, getting his body in the way and eventually hoicking the ball away from goal. It's a nearly-but-not-quite game, this. Ivanovic's header apart, there's not been a proper whiff of danger at all.
44 min: Malouda sashays down the left and cuts the ball back to the edge of the area, where Essien rushes in to shoot with his left leg, usually used for support. The effect is roughly similar to attempting to drive a golf ball 300 yards using a string of sausages.
HALF TIME: Manchester City meh-meh Chelsea. Meh. Looking back now, that was pretty poor, actually. Must do better. No gold stars.
It doesn't take a genius, does it.
BREAKING NEWS FROM LANCASHIRE: Sam Allardyce appears to be in the throes of a thundering nervous breakdown. I mean will you take a look at these all-new quotes: "There is no other Sam Allardyce, there is just the one. There never has been and never will be another Sam Allardyce. Sam Allardyce doesn't manage like anyone else. I am unique in my style of management and who I am. I don't see any comparisons between anyone." Spectacular. All this off the back of last week's "I should manage Real Madrid, run BP, and be the Paramount Leader of China" press conference, and last season's hilariously poor hounding of Rafa Benitez due to some perceived hand-waving slight. Will somebody have a word with Sam Allardyce? Sam Allardyce doesn't appear to be very well.
And the teams come out again. More Fatboy Slim over the PA. Do they have to do this? It's football, not an edition of Razzmatazz. Anyway, eventually the PA announcer shuts his face, and the football begins again. Anelka takes a swipe at the bottom-left corner from 25 yards, Hart fingertipping round the post. A determined start to the second half by Chelsea.
47 min: From the corner on the left, Essien heads over from eight yards. That was a real chance. "I remember a Manchester United fanzine emailed the City press officer to ask about the three stars above the badge," reports David Moore. "They were informed it's a design feature and they think it looks good! Massive club!" Now now.
49 min: Eastlands is pretty quiet, actually. Not surprising, as apart from that early burst by Chelsea, nothing's happened in this half so far. "I think Sam Allardyce might be a revisionist," opines Aidan Gibson. "Or he doesn't watch Stoke City."
53 min: There really isn't much happening here at all. All of a sudden, this is dreadful fare. Eastlands has nearly fallen silent. "Although this game is equal on paper," begins Ben Dunn, "I feel something should be done to balance the challenge faced by the lower lights of the league - Fulham, Blackpool and Liverpool for example - when faced by the might of the financially corrupt teams such as those on show today. Maybe the addition of weights to the players from the higher echelons, as in horse racing, could make every game interesting, or maybe force John Terry to wear comedy clown shoes (this may help his first touch.) 6 - 0 is fun once or twice in a season, but every week?" Preach on, brother. See also: Champions League group stages. Stop financial doping, please!
54 min: Mikel tries to release Drogba in the box down the inside-left channel, but Kompany is over to cover. Then City break, but the play's pulled back after Mikel clips Barry. It's not as though the players aren't trying. "Can someone let Allardyce know that I still want Phil Brown back?" asks Alexander Netherton. "The pupil usurped the teacher years back."
55 min: Suddenly, some action! Silva springs down the inside-left channel and into the area, surprising Cech with a low shot to the near post. The keeper does well to react, despite having shuffled into the centre expecting the cross, getting down and turning the effort past the post. The corner's wasted - but that was much, much better from the home side.
58 min: Chelsea are enjoying more of the ball, but not doing very much with it. The unusually quiet Cole breaks down the left, but his deep cross is aimless. "One should always think of Big Sam as a piece of performance art," sniffs critic Gary Naylor. "Makes sense then." What? Like this?
"Anyone for tennis? Yes, me. Me for tennis."
59 mins: GOAL!!! Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea. This is brilliant from Tevez, who picks up the ball in the centre circle, drives down the middle of the park, drifts off to the right as Silva makes a dummy run down the left, and whacks a low shot into the bottom-left corner. Can the leaders respond to this? It's the first time they've been behind all season.
60 min: Drogba's immediate response is to break into the City box and lash a low shot to the near post. Hart is quickly down to smother the effort with no drama.
63 min: This is on now! Chelsea have upped the tempo. Barry puts his shoulder in on Ivanovic, the Chelsea man going down screaming in pain. Then he hammers De Jong with a tackle. The crowd enjoy both challenges. This could be a very entertaining half hour. "An anagram of Sam Allardyce is 'Clearly mad as'," writes John Beaven. Ow, that's spooky.
65 min: Mikel is booked for a late clip on Tevez. Nothing malicious, just mistimed, but a yellow card nonetheless.
66 min: Yaya Toure rumbles down the inside-right channel and into the area. For a second, it looks as though he'll break clean through on goal, but eventually he tries one fancy twirl too many (i.e. one) and is bustled off the ball by Cole and Alex. This game has suddenly exploded into life.
68 min: Silva is enjoying a lot of the ball now. First he clips a cross into the centre from the right for Tevez, only for Alex to deflect the ball away from the striker with a last-ditch header. Then he causes bother down the left - but his low cross is cut out by Terry.
69 min: A change for chasing Chelsea: Zhirkov replaces Mikel.
71 min: Essien tries to score with a daisycutter from nearly 40 yards. It flies wide right. The crowd whistle, but it wasn't that far from goal, and a concerned Hart was over quickly enough to cover his post.
73 min: Kompany is at the centre of another City charge into Chelsea territory. He starts the move, then a few passes later lifts a cross into the area from the right. He's been very impressive today. "I came top in spelling nearly every week when I was seven (he brags) but I didn't see the need to keep my gold stars on show," writes Duncan Smith. "A weird mentality." Perhaps that Tevez goal's earned City another. Expect them to come proudly running out next week with four on.
74 min: Essien takes a wild lash from 25 yards. The closer he gets, the further away from goal the ball ends up.
75 min: Drogba - and he's not particularly happy about this - is replaced by Sturridge. He still shakes Carlo Ancelotti's hand as he leaves the pitch, though, a sign that hissy fits may not be tolerated on the Italian's watch.
77 min: Boyata is booked for flipping Zhirkov into the air like a greasy egg. The Chelsea man was at full pelt there. The free kick's just to the left of the City area, and is met by Alex, six yards out, dead centre. He really should score, but the ball hits his shoulder and sails wide right. Chelsea may well regret that.
78 min: Silva - who was poor in the first half, but much better in the second - goes off, to be replaced by Johnson.
79 min: Cole bustles down the left and drags a shot just wide left of goal. City haven't done too much up front since going a goal up; they look happy enough to dig in and settle for 1-0.
81 min: Yaya Toure, at top lick, is brought down in the centre circle by Ramires. The Chelsea man's booked - and it's his final act, as he's replaced by the 17-year-old Josh McEachran, making his Premier League debut.
83 min: Sturridge gives the ball away in his own half, allowing Tevez to romp into the Chelsea half, pursued by Alex. Tevez turns quickly and is clipped on the ankle - but there's no free kick. Preposterous. Seconds later, Terry climbs all over the same player, just outside the Chelsea area, to the left of goal. This time Tevez gets the decision - and will stand over the free kick. Can he put Chelsea out of their misery?
84 min: No. The effort, curled wide left, is rubbish.
85 min: Chelsea look out of ideas, it must be said.
86 min: Adebayor replaces Tevez.
88 min: City have defended staunchly. They've been immense at the back, perfectly content to hit Chelsea on the break when needs be. Chelsea just can't craft anything up front.
89 min: Boateng comes on for Boyata. There's a kerfuffle in the City box but Sturridge can't get his toe on the end of the ball, eight yards out. There will be four added minutes of this.
90 min +1: A free kick for City down the right. Milner is quite happy to diddle around near the corner flag. And who can blame him?
90 min +2: McEachran starts a sweeping move with a delicious dragback, making Boateng look very daft indeed. Essien romps down the inside-right channel and reaches the edge of the area, but can't get a shot on goal. City slammed the door shut there.
90 min +3: After a very impressive run down the left and into the Chelsea area, Adebayor performs the most preposterous dive of the season so far. No penalty. But City are unlikely to care, it looks like Chelsea are spent here.
FULL TIME: Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea. And that's it! The champions suffer their first defeat of the season. It wasn't a classic, but City deserved their win - and the three points will kick-start their season. Chelsea will remain top of the table on 15 points whatever happens to Arsenal and Manchester United this weekend - but City are now only four points off the lead in fourth place. I hope that's right: to be honest I can't concentrate, I'm too worried about Big Sam, who could right now be parading up and down the promenade at Blackpool with his underpants on his head and a stick of rock up each nostril for all we know.
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