It is what many people are calling a title showdown but with so many game left of the season, the result between the huge Chelsea vs. Man City clash will provide more of inkling towards who is likely to come out trumps at the end of the season. A psychological boost for the winners will be key going into the final third of the season but with Man City playing catch up at the moment, a defeat could prove to be fatal if Chelsea prove too strong in the games to come. Saturday will provide a fascinating game between two heavyweights with interest from millions of people, hoping for a game to remember.
Chelsea go into the game with a five point lead over City after their 5-0 thrashing away to Swansea two weeks ago. Since then, they have suffered a humiliating defeat to Bradford City in the FA Cup in a match which they led 2-0 and went on to lose 4-2 at home. The extreme low of a cup exit was followed by jubilation in midweek after a close fought semi-final against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup was decided with an Ivanovic header which booked their place in the final. Mourinho and his men will know that a win here will give them a huge gap which they will feel that they can hold onto with the games left so capitalising on home advantage here could have a huge affect on where the title ends up.
Current champions Man City have been chasing Chelsea for much of the season now but after the Blues blistering start to the season, a blip in form allowed City to capitalise and saw themselves level for a period of time. Since then, draws against Burnley and Everton followed by a defeat at home to Arsenal last time out has saw them drop five points behind. City also suffered an embarrassing defeat at home in the FA Cup, this time to Middlesbrough which could play on their minds on the weekend. The bottom line here though is that the result could see City climb to just two points away from the leaders or fall eight points behind, the latter of which will try to be avoided by any means necessary.
In the meeting between the two sides earlier in the season saw Frank Lampard come back to haunt his old side by grabbing the equaliser in a 1-1 draw at the Etihad. An Andre Schurrle opener had given Chelsea the lead against the run of play but substitute Lampard had the final say.
Chelsea’s trio of Felipe Luis (calf), Ivanovic (foot) and most importantly Fabregas (hamstring) suffered knocks in the midweek cup win against Liverpool. Fabregas is set to miss out with his injury with the former two more likely to be declared fit for the huge weekend clash. Schurrle and Mikel have also been struggling with slight injuries but are expected to be available for Saturday.
Yaya Toure will be a missing figure in the Man City midfield after playing for the Ivory Coast in the African Nations Cup. Mangala has been suffering from a groin issue and is 50/50 whilst Samir Nasri is around two weeks away from making a comeback to the first team after a calf issue.
Possible Starting Line-Ups
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic, Hazard, Matic, Ramires, Willian, Oscar, Costa
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho, Silva, Milner, Aguero, Dzeko
- Chelsea have won four and lost just two of their last eight Barclays Premier League games against Manchester City.
- No team has beaten Manchester City more often in the Premier League than Chelsea (22 victories, same as Arsenal).
- Oscar has scored three and grabbed two assists in his last three Premier League games.
- The Blues have kept eight clean sheets in their last 11 Premier League outings, including the last five in a row at Stamford Bridge.
- The Blues have kept eight clean sheets in their last 11 Premier League matches.
Recent League Head to Heads
2014/2015 Sun 21 Sep Man. City 1 – 1 Chelsea
2013/2014 Mon 03 Feb Man. City 0 – 1 Chelsea
2013/2014 Sun 27 Oct Chelsea 2 – 1 Man. City
2012/2013 Sun 24 Feb Man. City 2 – 0 Chelsea
2012/2013 Sun 25 Nov Chelsea 0 – 0 Man. City
2011/2012 Wed 21 Mar Man. City 2 – 1 Chelsea
2011/2012 Mon 12 Dec Chelsea 2 – 1 Man. City
Chelsea: Eden Hazard
The little wizard from Belgium has been arguably Chelsea’s most influential player this season with his creativity and goal scoring threat. The 24 year old has shown this season that he is one of the best players in the Premier League and could be for many years to come. With eight goals so far this season he has shown that he offers a serious goal threat from the wing and is Chelsea’s go to man in order to inject some pace at key times within matches. Many will praise Cesc Fabregas for being the creative spark in this Chelsea team but many will fail to see that hazard also offers plenty of creativity to the team with 59 chances created and four assists.
Man City: David Silva
Arsenal showed against them in their last Premier League game that by taking Silva out of the game, Man City are nowhere near as deadly with possession of the ball as they don’t have the player that can pick out the key passes and find spaces to wriggle into. He may have felt that he should have got more goals last season with only seven goals but he has improved this season with six goals already and plenty of games left to add to his tally. The Spanish maestro offers something that only few other players do with his close control and technical abilities that help him to glide past players which has been proven this season with 81% of his 31 attempted dribbles being successful.
I have a sneaky feeling that Man City will snatch a win in this one. Everyone has backed Chelsea since their flying start and then all of sudden City came storming back and were joint top. Now with a five point gap to the Blues, they need to show that they can keep up with the pace which they have shown on many occasions in the last few years.
My Prediction – Chelsea 1-2 Man City