Two teams full of superstars managed by two world-class managers, the match between Chelsea and Manchester City is set to be of titanic proportions. Both Chelsea and City are starting to show why they were considered title favourites before the start of the season with some impressive performances so far.
Chelsea registered a slightly controversial 4-1 victory over Cardiff City last week where Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands. However, a convincing 3-0 victory away at Schalke would have given the Blues a lot of confidence going into the game against City.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City side also enjoyed a good week. An important away win over West Ham United was followed by a gritty victory over CSKA Moscow in difficult conditions in the Champions League. The Citizens can now go to Stamford Bridge full of belief that they can come away with a victory.
Ashley Cole should make his return from injury against City after missing out a couple of weeks of action with a rib injury. The England international will replace Cesar Azpilicueta who filled in for Cole in midweek against Schalke. Marko van Ginkel will be out with a long-term knee injury.
Fernando Torres was impressive against Schalke and grabbed a brace while Samuel Eto’o also did well against Cardiff City last week. It will be interesting to see which striker Mourinho elects to go with against City on Sunday.
Frank Lampard featured for 90 minutes in both matches against Cardiff and Schalke last week and it will be surprising to see the Englishman start on Sunday. John Obi Mikel will most probably replace Lampard in midfield alongside Ramires. The attacking trio of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard will start will be providing support to either Eto’o or Torres.
Man City FC
Captain Vincent Kompany will miss the clash due to a thigh problem while Martin Demichelis could feature after returning to training last week.
Pellegrini made a host of changes to his side against West Ham United but fielded a more familiar lineup against CSKA Moscow. The Chilean manager will most probably go with the similar side that featured in Moscow in midweek.
Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo have been fantastic for City so far and look set to start in attack with David Silva and Yaya Toure providing the creative spark. Jesus Navas will provide the width while Fernandinho will be marshaling the middle of the park.
Mateja Nastasic will continue in defence for Kompany and most probably partner Joleon Lescott at centre defence with Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandr Kolarov in the full-back positions.
Chelsea FC (Probable XI): Cech; Cole, Terry, Luiz, Ivanovic; Mata, Oscar, Ramires, Mikel, Hazard; Torres
Manchester City FC (Probable XI): Hart; Kolarov, Nastasic, Lescott, Zabaleta; Navas, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva; Negredo, Aguero
Both sides are in fine form heading into the game and posses an embarrassment of riches in terms of attacking talent at their disposal. Chelsea are hitting form at the right time after a stuttering start. It will be a very big relief for Mourinho that his strikers are finally beginning to find the net and the Portuguese manager will be hoping his attacking players have their shooting boots on against a City defence minus Vincent Kompany.
Manchester City finally overcame their away day woes against West Ham United last week. However, Chelsea represent a totally different proposition. In the likes of Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, David Silva and Yaya Toure, Pellegrini has many matches winners in his side and all them coming back to form at the same time is a frightening prospect for their opponents.
Chelsea under Jose Mourinho are unbeaten in 64 Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge while City have been on and off away from home. However, stats do not really matter when it comes to the clash between the two giants. The two sides are so well matched that the game could be decided by either manger’s tactical nous. The match will certainly be a fascinating one, both on and off the pitch.
Chelsea FC 1 – 1 Manchester City FC
14/04/2013 Chelsea FC 1 – 2 Manchester City (FA Cup)
24//02/2013 Manchester City 2 – 0 Chelsea FC
25/11/2012 Chelsea FC 0 – 0 Manchester City FC
12//08/2012 Chelsea FC 2 – 3 Manchester City FC(Community Shield)
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 16:00 (BST)
Written by: Sarad Bade Shrestha