On October 27th, Manchester City travel to Stamford Bridge to take on fellow title contenders, Chelsea. This is the first time the two have met since Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea. In Mourinho’s first stint at Chelsea, he won four lost one and drew one against City, although at that time there was a big gap in class between the two clubs. Both teams will want three points to prevent falling any further behind league leaders Arsenal and it will hopefully be a good open game.
Both teams are in pretty good shape injury wise but do have a few guys with knocks. Manchester City are expecting Vincent Kompany to return this weekend but he is still taking it easy in training and will have a late fitness test to make sure he hasn’t had a setback. Martin Demichelis is still dealing with the knee injury that has prevented him from making his Manchester City debut and it is still unsure if he will be fit or not. It is very unlikely he will play this week his first game considering he has just come back and considering the opposition. Ashley Cole is a doubt for the game and will face a late fitness test to try to play on Sunday. Outside of Cole, the only injury for Chelsea is Marco Van Ginkel who will be missing all season.
Jose Mourinho has been in the news this week, which surprises no one, after his rant on the sidelines against Cardiff. Mourinho has been charged by the FA with improper conduct and will face a £8,000 fine but will not face a touchline ban. Both teams had midweek Champions League games but City’s made the headlines for all the wrong reasons after Yaya Toure was racially abused by some of CSKA Moscow’s fans, in Russia.
Manchester City came out victorious in there first game against Mourinho and handed him his first loss in English football then went on to go win less in their other five matches vs Mourinho, while he was at Chelsea. The two teams have only had two 0-0 draws since 1995. Last season, Chelsea did not score against Manchester City, in the Premier League. Six years ago, City and Chelsea played on the same date, October 27th, in their first meeting after Mourinho left. Chelsea went on to win that match 6-0. After bagging a brace in the Champions League midweek, Fernando Torres has scored the same amount of goals in European competitions and the Premier League (15) since joining Chelsea despite playing on 33 European games and 88 Premier League games.
Big time players come out and make their presence felt in the big games. Two players who could have huge impacts on the game are Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard.
Hazard had his first really sensational game of the season on Sunday against Cardiff. Hazard picked up two goals, albeit one was a bit controversial, and one assist. Hazard will be hoping to carry that form into the game against City when he will be taking on last season’s PFA team of the season right back, Pablo Zabeleta. Hazard has been very effective taking players on this season, completing 17 of his 34 attempted dribbles, more than anyone else on Chelsea, and will need to be able to take on continue that success to stretch the defense and help provide service for his teammates. Hazard has continued to be creative, creating a chance every 33 minutes, and will be a key creative component for Chelsea, especially if play maker Juan Mata does not play. Hazard’s finishing has managed to put away three goals so far this season. Hazard has put away both of his clear cut chances this year and will hope to put away any chances that fall to him. Hazard is a very talented player and player and will want to show that on the big stage against a big team.
Sergio Aguero has been a huge part of City’s early season success carrying the goal scoring load. Aguero was fantastic in their last game against West Ham scoring a brace and adding an assist, just like Hazard. Based on Pellegrini’s team selection this year, Aguero will team with another striker, likely Negrado, to wreck havoc on Chelsea’s defense. Assuming he plays, Aguero will try to take advantage of John Terry’s lack of pace. Aguero is a lethal finisher, scoring 40% of his chances this season, and will finish when he gets into position, like he showed against West Ham. Aguero will also try to combine with his teammates, like Negrado. Aguero has been a good creator along with a finisher, creating a chance every 50 minutes. Aguero has been fantastic all around this season, scoring or assisting on a goal every 62.75 minutes, and will try to continue to stand out against Chelsea.
Hopefully, this game will be open with both teams looking for three points instead of settling for a point. City will look to turn around their poor home form in the league. After just getting their first league road win of the season last week against West Ham, City will hope to continue to improve their road record this season. Jose Mourinho on the other hand will hope to keep his record of never losing at home with Chelsea. With both teams coming back from away games in Europe, the last 15-20 minutes of the game could suffer from the players tiring from their European travel. Chelsea could have trouble dealing with City’s powerful midfielders, like Yaya Toure, and could suffer from the lack of having a world class finisher up top. That said, Mourinho doesn’t lose at home.
Prediction: 2-1 Chelsea