MAN CITY v Chelsea – Key Battles, Referee, Prediction and Team News

25 Sep

Two Italian managers, two teams who compete in the upper echelons of the Premier League, two teams who are the envy of everyone else in the division. Man City and Chelsea have a lot in common – the two wealthiest clubs in the top flight. And yet, the two are developing a bitter rivalry.

Last season, the Blues from Manchester gained the upper hand, recording a pair of sensational victories over their Southern counterparts. The latter of those successes provided the backdrop to one of the most intriguing stories of the summer: the Wayne Bridge v John Terry via Vanessa Perroncel saga – Team Bridge v Team Terry.

City generally have an impressive record against the better sides in the league, as highlighted by the pair of afore-mentioned victories. But this season has seen Chelsea raise the bar in terms of number of goals scored, chances created and football played. They have been majestic in their first few games, although critics have labelled this fixtures as their first real test, as the visitors have only overcome the likes of Wigan and Blackpool so far.

With regards to team selection, I have an instinct which tells me that my good friend Roberto Mancini may select a totally different side to the one that started in the disappointing defeat against West Brom in the Carling Cup. Despite performing heroically at times, Shay Given will drop to the bench in favour of Joe Hart, whilst the whole of the defence in midweek, all of whom were under the age of 22, will make way for their more senior colleagues. However, Mancini’s selection has been impinged by a spate of injuries to key players, notably ruling out Bridge (removing the possibility of an explosive reunion with Terry), Aleksandar Kolarov and Joleon Lescott in defence.

Summer signing Jerome Boateng is 50/50 to start, and although it would be a huge gamble with the Germany international not having played at all this season, the manager may feel it is a risk worth taking to combat the effective Florent Malouda. A lot depends of the fitness of Micah Richards who is hopeful of recovering from his hamstring injury. In midfield, the likes of De Jong, Yaya Touré, Gareth Barry and James Milner will return, whilst David Silva looks to have edged out Adam Johnson for a place of the left. In the forward department, Mario Balotelli is still sidelined, meaning Carlos Tévez will lead the line on his own.

Below is the team which Mancini is expected to select.

                                                                  Hart

Richards                        K. Touré                         Kompany                         Zabaleta

                      Y. Touré                      de Jong                        Barry

Milner                                                                                                                    Silva

                                                               Tévez

Subs: Given, Boyata, Cunningham, Vieira, Johnson, Jo, Adebayor

The Londoners also travel with a number of injury worries, especially concerning England midfielder Frank Lampard, who has been ruled out of this game. Israeli international Yossi Benayoun and Ivorian Salomon Kalou are also sidelined, whilst John Terry is struggling, possibly to contain himself at the sight of Perroncel, but also with injury. In Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, the visitors have two players at the peak of their powers, brimming with confidence and both will prove a real test of the quality of Kompany and Touré.

Key Battle

Yaya Touré v Michael Essien

You may be thinking that this is a slightly bizarre choice for the key  battle, but from watching Chelsea this season, it’s evident that the Ghanaian powerhouse Essien is the catalyst for their good form. With his strength and running ability, he drives on his teammates, providing the ammunition from which they prosper. To gain a foothold in this game, City will have to conquer the midfield battle, much of which will centre on our own African muscle man, Yaya. The former Barcelona man has had a quiet start to life in the Premier League, but having scored his first goal last week against Wigan, he must kick on and show his true worth.

Referee: Andre Marriner. Perhaps surprisingly, the Premier League have handed this potentially explosive fixture to Marriner, rather than the more experienced Howard Webb. The promising Brummie is regarded as Webb’s understudy and this game will be a test of where he’s at. Let’s just hope that Marriner is not all at sea!

Prediction: MAN CITY 1 – 2 Chelsea: A hugely difficult game to predict, and it’s sure to be a close run thing, but my head has prevailed over my heart. Goals to be scored by Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Carlos Tévez.

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5 Responses to “MAN CITY v Chelsea – Key Battles, Referee, Prediction and Team News”

  1. Plattsy 24/09/2010 at 11:46 pm #

    ‘Let’s just hope that Marriner is not all at sea!’, very good!

    I think that on current form Essien will walk all over Toure, for me the game will be a very defensive chess match unless there is an early goal. I’m going tomorrow, and I can’t wait, but to be honest if both teams play to their full potential I can see Chelsea teaching us a footballing lesson and beating us emphatically.

    Also has Mancini already said that he’s dropping Given? Because I’d keep him in.

  2. Josh 25/09/2010 at 10:55 am #

    So Richards is in the team and on the bench hmmmm

  3. Browny 25/09/2010 at 12:09 pm #

    what does echelons mean, pretty standard preview again, what do you want me to say, however, i look forward to the game, and u could have told me kalou wasnt playing when i put my prediction in!!

  4. Ricky 25/09/2010 at 12:50 pm #

    I do send my sincere apologies, I commented last night but it doesn’t seem to have registered.

    Browny, upper echelons basically means we should be near the top.

    A good review as normal

  5. Matt Jones 25/09/2010 at 4:43 pm #

    HiSteven

    Sorry ive not commented until now, I wasout all yesterday and all night too, I got back at 4.30am, so not had a chance to comment because I got up at 12pm and then rushed to catch the game! Anyway, here’s my comment….

    WOW, your team was almost correct for once! Hahahaa apart from Richards of course!

    Hurray, the key battles are back 🙂 oh…no….key battle singular! Would have been nice to have Silva v Ivanovic, or Drogba v Kompany here.

    Essien ‘v’ Yaya….i’d say Essien say more of the ball but Yaya did more when he had the ball.

    Although de Jong got man of the match, I thought Barry was by far the best player on the pitch, shortly followed by Milner who say a lot of the ball and worked hard! 🙂 Zaba was as rash as ever, Hart didnt have much to do, but fair play to him because he did keep hold of the ball instead of fumbling it when Ivanovic hit the bar with his header. Toure and Kompany played superbly, although there were no real threats. Silva looked much stronger and far more competative which I enjoyed watching – he battled hard and tracked back well, winning the ball several times in the first half. As for Tevez….well, he was almost oblivious up until the goal, but who cares!!!

    🙂 Like the referee bit again, but he had a poor game today, and should be slated for inconsistency in your review

    Over and out,
    Matt

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