The hosts dominated for large periods, but they were reduced to 10 men just after the hour when Pablo Zabaleta received his second yellow card of the game.
Jose Mourinho's side made their numerical advantage count minutes later as Andre Schurrle gave them the lead, but they were pegged back with five minutes left to play thanks to a goal from former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.
Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at the action between the two teams at the Etihad Stadium.
On target: 4
On target: 2
Was the result fair?
It could be argued that City deserved to come away with all three points due to their dominance for large spells of the match, but Chelsea ultimately made the champions work for a share of the spoils. The most unfair outcome would have been a win for the visitors, which almost happened.
Man City's performance
Following an indifferent start to the season, City should be pleased with how they took the game to Chelsea. The hosts showed lots of intent going forward, often bombarding their opponents from both central and wide areas. However, the most disappointing aspect of their game was a lack of quality that has served them so well in recent season. Chelsea should take credit for how they defended, but Manuel Pellegrini's side did not do enough to threaten consistently. At the other end of the pitch, Eliaquim Mangala stood out in a defence that looked solid throughout. While a defeat would have provided a psychological blow, a share of the spoils was a decent outcome for the champions.
The league leaders made life difficult for City thanks to a stoic and dogged 90 minutes at the Etihad Stadium that so nearly brought a win. The visitors excelled in defence as John Terry led a back four that soaked up lots of pressure, while the midfield did a good job in trying to stifle the home side's creative players. This was always going to be a defence-minded performance from the visitors and that was proved by their stunted showing in attack. Diego Costa had little service to work with as the lone striker, with Chelsea's best spell of play lasting for a brief period after Zabaleta's sending-off. Would Jose Mourinho have taken a draw before the match? Probably.
Sports Mole's man of the match
James Milner: Playing out on the right wing, Milner put in a magnificent performance that was full of tireless running, enthusiasm and selflessness. He may get a lot of stick for being an unpretentious kind of footballer, but he showed against Chelsea just why he is so valuable to City.
Pablo Zabaleta was playing with fire when he clattered into the back of Costa for his second yellow card. A bit more thought from the Argentine and he would have probably stayed on the pitch.
Mike Dean had a busy old afternoon, dishing out a total of nine yellow cards during a feisty encounter between the teams. Not all of those bookings were correct, but he often did well to keep things under control when they could have easily boiled over. Dean also had a couple of penalty shouts to deal with and he just about managed to get those right.
Man City: Manuel Pellegrini's side start the defence of their League Cup crown on Wednesday when they host Sheffield Wednesday in the third round.
Chelsea: The Blues return to action on Wednesday when Bolton Wanderers visit Stamford Bridge in round three of the League Cup.