Onuoha told BBC Radio 5 Live's Football Daily: "The last international break came when they lost late doors to Arsenal.
"That was a disappointing way to head off on international duty whereas this time they will know that was a tough game. You can see that Chelsea are going to have some say in how the league table is going to shape itself in the second half of the season.
"They will be disappointed that when they had a 4-3 lead they ended up giving away a penalty in additional time in that manner, but they will take the point."
Since that defeat by Arsenal, City had won five games in a row in all competitions and could have gone four points clear at the top had they hung on at Stamford Bridge.
"They are still trending in the right direction," said Onuoha. "They have got Liverpool after the international break and they have got Spurs. They have to finish off their Champions League situation and then it’s the business end.
"These players live for this next period and getting into February time and being in the mix. I’m sure they will be content to be top of the table, knowing they can get better and knowing they have players coming back as well."