Preview: Chelsea v Manchester City
City’s unbeaten league record is set for arguably it’s toughest remaining test at Stamford Bridge. André Villas-Boas is desperate for the win, claiming it could be make or break for Chelsea’s title challenge.
City need the win to re-establish our five point lead over United. It should be a fascinating game between two fully committed sides.
With City looking the more settled side, we know the likely formation, with the questions for Mancini revolving around who starts in midfield and attack. If Micah Richards is injured, then Zabaleta is sure to play at right-back with Clichy on the opposing flank.
Two from de Jong, Barry, Yaya and Milner are likely to start as the central midfield pair. If we’re wary of Chelsea’s power then Yaya may be positioned further upfield. Similarly if we’re concerned about Cole or Bosingwa attacking down the flanks, then Milner could be positioned on the wing.
Whoever plays on the flanks will have to be mindful of their defensive duties. In attack Dzeko and Aguero are in decent form, yet appear to need each other to be at their best.
Whether we can afford two strikers who offer little when we don’t have the ball is open to question. Dzeko’s height could be useful in defending set-pieces, an area where Chelsea are traditionally strong.
More important than Mancini’s selection, could be AVB’s tactics. Will the Portuguese play his “high line” or will Chelsea stick with the deeper defending that proved successful against Newcastle.
No doubt the likes of Silva, Nasri, Aguero and Balotelli would love the opportunity to try and pierce Chelsea on the break, in the same way as Arsenal did when winning 5-3. Although David Luiz scored in this fixture last year, his suspension tonight may be mourned by the City attack who could find the Terry/Ivanovic pairing tougher to break down.
If City do secure the win, then our credentials as title favourites will be established. It’s a great chance to put further pressure on Villas-Boas and maintain a cushion over United.
Blue Days line-up:
Zabaleta – Kompany – Lescott – Clichy
de Jong – Y Toure
Silva – Aguero – Nasri
Prediction: 3-0 to City.