Venue: Etihad Stadium
Date: Monday, 3 February
Kick-off: 20.00 GMT
This evening’s game sees the Premier League’s most rampant attack against its tightest defence as Chelsea travel to the Etihad.
Of course, we’ve already beaten City this season at Stamford Bridge but they were struggling away then – and didn’t have 115 goals under their belts! As for us, we couldn’t even get past West Ham’s bus last time out, so I may get no present at all from Chelsea today to make it a happy birthday to me.
Going into tonight’s game, City boss Manuel Pellegrini reflects on our previous meeting, saying “I don’t know if they were lucky. We made a mistake in the last minute. Maybe they didn’t play better than we did. We tried to win the game but football has another thing that has a lot of importance in the scores. In that game, they won because of our errors. I don’t know if winning (on Monday) is a strong message. It is important because we play at home against a team that fights for the title, but anything that happens in this game is not the end of the Premier League. After that you still have 42 points to play for.”
Whilst on tonight’s game, he says “For us it is very important to think that it’s a new game and we don’t know if we are going to score a goal, and we are not just thinking of scoring goals. I think in football all that has happened in the past is not important. Maybe one team can be feared, another team cannot be feared. One can come here just to defend, another team will think it is better to attack. I don’t know what will happen, but for our team it is very important not to think about the past. To do it again we must repeat exactly the way we are playing here at the Etihad.”
Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho meanwhile, says “City score goals. Normally, when your approach is very defensive, if you concede a goal you are in trouble. Or you have to make changes during the game and you never know how the players adapt to it. It’s not because of one game against certain opponents that we are going to change our philosophy. We are going to try to win knowing perfectly we can lose or draw. Our intention is to try to win.”
And on Aguero’s absence, says “He’s a fantastic player, but he’s one of so many. Even the fourth striker (Stevan Jovetic), coming off the bench, comes on and scores (in Wednesday’s 5-1 win at Tottenham). For the last months Sergio was injured and the third striker, (Edin) Dzeko, was making the difference and scoring a lot of goals. So for them it’s not important if somebody is injured.”
For City, Samir Nasri (knee), Javi Garcia (muscle) and Sergio Aguero (hamstring) are all out, though Alvaro Negredo (shoulder) is back in contention.
For Chelsea, Fernando Torres (knee) remains out, while midfielder Marco van Ginkel (knee) is a long-term absentee. Mohamed Salah will need a bit of a once over to see if he’s up to it tonight.
MAN CITY (Possible line-up): Hart: Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Navas, Toure, Fernandinho, Silva; Dzeko, Negredo.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Cech: Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Lampard, Matic, Ramires; Willian, Eto’o, Hazard
Chelsea 2-1 Man City (27th October 2013)
If you consider City have won the last four meetings against Chelsea at the Etihad, stretching back to the 2008-09 season and on current form, they’ve also won eight games in a row in the league, whilst our last game saw us draw at home to West Ham – then this one doesn’t bode well for us really, does it?