Match Preview: Chelsea vs Manchester City
Premier League leaders Chelsea will host defending champions Manchester City at the Stamford Bridge in a mouth-watering top of the table clash. Chelsea won their last league game 2-0 against Newcastle United, while Manchester City won 3-2 against Sunderland. Both sides could miss a few key players, Chelsea striker Diego Costa is facing a potential three match ban and Cesc Fabregas has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Manchester City are without Yaya Toure and new signing Wilfried Bony who are out on duty for their national teams at the Africa Cup of Nations. The game ended 1-1 the last time these two sides met at the Etihad, with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard scoring the equaliser for Manchester City.
Stamford Bridge is a football stadium located in Fulham, London. It is the home ground of Chelsea F.C.. The stadium is located within the Moore Park Estate also known as Walham Green and is often referred to as simply The Bridge.
Kick off time
The match is scheduled to kick off at 11.00 PM IST.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg Assistants: S Beck, J Collin Fourth Official: J Moss
Probable Line ups
Chelsea (4-2-3-1) : Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Remy
Chelsea are sweating on the fitness of several players, after playing 120 minutes of football in midweek against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup. Cesc Fabregas, who has 15 assists to his name, was substituted after half-time, due to a hamstring injury and is set to miss the potential title decider.
Mourinho might be without the likes of Ivanovic and Filipe Luis, who are also carrying niggles. Diego Costa has been charged by the Football Association for a stamp on Liverpool’s Emre Can. Ramires is likely to replace Fabregas in the starting XI, while Loic Remy might be preferred ahead of Didier Drogba in the starting XI. César Azpilicueta might return to the staring XI after he was rested against Liverpool in the midweek fixture.
Manchester City(4-2-3-1): Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho, Navas, Silva, Milner, Aguero
The defending champions are without Yaya Toure and new signing Wilfried Bony, who are out on duty for their national teams at the Africa Cup of Nations, Samir Nasri will be out for another couple of weeks and Mangala is doubtful, due to a groin injury. Most probably Manuel Pellegrini will play with a double pivot of Fernando and Fernandinho in the absence of Yaya Toure. Aguero is expected to start up front, with David Silva just behind his as a central attacking midfielder. Frank Lampard might be used as an impact substitute once again. James Milner and Jesus Navas are expected to start on the wings
Chelsea have won four and lost two of their last eight Barclays Premier League matches against Manchester City.
No team has beaten Man City more often in the Barclays Premier League than Chelsea (22 victories, same as Arsenal).
Chelsea have won 11 and lost one of the last 16 Barclays Premier League home matches against City.
Sixty-four percent of the goals Manchester City have conceded have come in the second half, the highest proportion in the top flight.
Aguero vs Terry
Sergio Aguero has 14 goals to his name in 14 starts and has a shots-to-goal conversion rate of 23% in the Premier League. There is no doubt the Argentine striker is a big goal scoring threat to the Chelsea defence and John Terry has to be at the top of his game. Terry will need to use his experience, otherwise he’ll find it difficult to cope with Aguero’s mobility and pace. The former England international will also need to organise his defense throughout the game in the potential league decider.
Hazard vs Zabaleta
Eden Hazard will be the main man for Jose Mourinho in the absence of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas. The Belgian international has been impressive throughout the season and will be up against one of the best right backs in the league Pablo Zabaleta. The Argentine international will have to be rock solid during the 90 minutes, if City are hoping to get something out of the game. Zabaleta has to also avoid getting into unnecessary tackles, when coming up against Eden Hazard.
Nemanja Matic vs David Silva:
In the absence of Yaya Toure, Manchester City only creative hope lies in David Silva. The Spaniard has six goals and two assists to his name, and will be hoping to add to that tally against the league leaders. Nemanja Matic will be hoping to contain Silva, and prevent him from linking up with Sergio Aguero. Matic has been a defensive shield for Chelsea since his return, and Chelsea defenders have kept 17 clean sheets in the 22 games when Matic has started at the Stamford Bridge.
We expect Jose Mourinho’s side to continue their impressive performances at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City