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Manchester City - Match Preview

The Skipper
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Chelsea face Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City on Monday, February 3rd, 20:00 at the Etihad Stadium.
The Match:
This game (round 24) pits two heavyweight Premier League sides against each other; the best attacking team against the best defensive team in the league. City have not lost a single point at home this season in the PL, scoring 42 goals (at home alone) on the way. They are sitting 2nd in the table, 2 points off top. A win could see them regain the top spot. Chelsea are currently 3rd in the league, conceding only 20 goals so far, and a win could see them draw level on points with City. City have won their last 5 PL games; defeating Tottenham, Cardiff, Swansea, Newcastle and Crystal Palace, whilst Chelsea have won 4 out of their last 5, defeating Liverpool, Southampton, Hull, Manchester United and drawing to West Ham. Pellegrini has only defeated Mourinho once in seven which came during their time in Spain, whilst Mourinho has defeated Pellegrini 5 times. Chelsea face Man City for the 149th time in all competitions, The Blues have won 62 (41.89%), drawn 37 (25.00%) and lost 49 (33.11%) of the previous 148 matches.[1]. Chelsea are the only team this season out the top 7 to have defeated Manchester City, which occurred at home earlier in the season - but that was our first win in 6 games in all competitions against Man City.
Opposition Analysis (excellently provided by @[member=hjperdeath])[2]
Manchester City welcome Joses Chelsea to the Etihad, in what seems to be a game that could tilt the title towards the club that grabs all the three points. The noisy residents of Manchester banged 5 past Hugo Lloris and Tottenham, while Chelsea struggled to convert their chances into goals against medieval football. For all the hype surrounding Citys blistering form in front of goal, what should Chelsea expect?
City while transitioning into attack, hold nothing back. Taking the term all guns blazing to another level. Freedom is given to a lot of players, and responsibilities, not always equally shared.
The center-backs push up and Kompany orchestrates and organizes the structure. On paper it is a 4-4-2, but it looks far from it when City are in full flow. Fernandinho and Toure are the so called central midfielders. Fernandinho prefers to defend, while Toure prefers to attack. Silva and [enter name of your choice except Navas] are the wide midfielders, who function as interiores . However when City need a bit of width due to their full-back unable to do because of the oppositions strategy, Navas gives them an edge. He hugs the touchline and drags players out wide for small pockets of space to open up.
City when using an interiores function a bit different as said before. Both the full-backs are to get themselves forward, with the full-back who is not directly taking part in the attack, holding himself back and being level with the last man in midfield. To explain that easier, if the ball is being played on the left, the right-back will hold himself a little back and be level with the defensive midfielder to make sure counter-attacks lose their efficiency.
A screen grab from the Arsenal game. Zabaleta has positioned himself well to either receive the ball or retreat quickly in case the ball is lost.
Another area to look at is the vital three man engine. The engine that keeps the team fluid and running at all times. Silva drops in the middle, and works with Toure and Fernandinho. They try to make each other available through their movement, which is exceptionally clever. One man always defends, and we all know who that is. By doing so, they also negate the problem of having no man behind the two strikers as seen on paper. To an extent its largely seen as a 4-1-3-2 .
If Chelsea are to win itll be vital to shut that area down, that is the bottom line. Block passing lanes, be physical and make sure that at least one of the three is never in the game for 90 minutes. That increases our chances of getting a favourable outcome to 40% .
Now if those three form the engine, one of the two strikers is the fuel. Aguero and Negredo was a blossoming partnership, with Aguero acting as the front-man and Negredo often dropping deep to collect the ball and link up play. This also helps negate another problem. City on paper would be heavily outnumbered in the attacking third when the midfield joins in. With a striker dropping deep, it could essentially change a 2v3 scenario to a 3v3 .
Dzeko and Jovetic have also been used, and in that partnership, the best part is that both of them can drop deep naturally to facilitate the play. All their strikers are exceptionally good at drifting to wide areas. Versatility is key in their play.
Now I dont have much to say about their defensive transition but, there seems to be this kind of idea that City are going to be really easy on the counter, and that isnt the truth. It was quite easy at the start, with Pellegrini having quite a few problems in defining a philosophy that could make ball retention easier.
City also have their fair share of players tracking back, notably on the side Silva starts in, as it tends to be more open. From one of the strikers, to atleast two of the midfielders, they dont hesitate to pull themselves back and recover possession.
On a tactical perspective, Monday to a football fan is going to be what cocaine is to a drug addict.

Players To Watch (City):

Yaya Toure & Fernandinho:
The best central midfield partnership have been integral to Manchester City's attacking impetus this season. Both players are well rounded, have great technique and can dominate matches from the middle. Yaya Toure, the more offensive of the two, has the ability to break from midfield at any given time and produce great finesse in the final third, whilst Fernandinho, who isn't bad offensively either, sits deep and launches most attacks for Man City.

Here are some goals from the two players:

Fernandinho goal vs. Arsenal

Yaya Toure

David Silva:
The Spanish playmaker has been in phenomenal form this season as City's main metronome in the final third. Pellegrini's attacking philosophy has allowed David to regain the spectacular form he had in the beginning of his City career, and the midfielder will be looking to control things again from the left side of the pitch, where he has been given the freedom to cut in and produce a wonderful defence splitting pass such as this:


The Manchester City and Belgian skipper has slowly played himself back to great form and will be looking to make things difficult for the Chelsea attack. He is always a threat on set pieces and has great leadership skills and determination to get his team out of trouble. Also known for his ball playing skills, Kompany can allow City to build from the back. It will be important to Chelsea if he has a good game or not. Here is an example of the above:


Team News[3]:
James Milner could return for Manchester City, but the big blow is the hamstring injury suffered by Aguero against Tottenham mid-week which sees him out for a month. Javi Garcia (muscle) and Samir Nasri (knee) are the other players missing out for City.

Chelsea have no new injury concerns for the big match, but Torres (knee) and long-term absentee Van Ginkel (knee) are set to miss out.

Possible starting line ups:
Potential Chelsea XI:


Ivanovic Cahill Terry Azpilicueta

Ramires Matic

Willian Oscar Hazard


Potential City XI:


Zabaleta Kompany Demichelis Clichy

Navas Toure Fernandinho Silva

Dzeko Negredo

Match Facts[4]:

  • Manchester City have won 19 and lost just one of their last 21 Barclays Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium, including winning the last 11 in a row.
  • Chelsea have kept three clean sheets in a row away from home in the Barclays Premier League.
  • Man City have won their last 10 home matches
  • Chelsea have lost their last four Premier League visits to the Etihad, but no team has won more games away at Man City in Premier League history than the west Londoners (10).
  • Man City have had both teams scoring in their last five matches against top-six teams.
  • Manchester City are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games played on a Monday (W5 D1), but their last PL defeat on a Monday came against Chelsea (1-2 in Dec 2011).
  • Five of Chelseas last eight Premier League games on a Monday have ended in a draw, with three of these ending goalless.
  • Chelsea have been level at half-time in their last five away matches against Man City.
  • Alvaro Negredo has scored 16 goals in his last 13 competitive appearances at the Etihad Stadium.
  • Chelsea had 39 shots against West Ham in midweek (incl. blocked shots); the most by any team who failed to score in the PL since 2003/04.
  • Man City have won their last eight Premier League games in a row, longer than any run secured in the title winning season of 2011-12 (most was seven).
  • Chelsea have won their last four home matches against top-half teams.
  • Chelsea have won only two of their last eight Premier League games in February (L4 D2).
  • Man City have scored first in their last five matches.
  • Edin Dzeko will attempt to score in four successive Premier League appearances within the same season for the first time.

Betting Odds:
City WIN 17/20
Draw: 23/10
Chelsea WIN 7/2

Depending on where you are from, you can watch the match in the following channels:
United Kingdom: Sky Sports 1 HD
United States: SiriusXM FC, NBC Sports Live Extra, NBCSN, Mun2, TalkSport Radio
India: Star Sports HD 2 India, Star Sports 4 India
Africa: SuperSport 3

If your country/continent is not listed above then you can check out the TV Schedule for the match here.
There should also be many match streams that can be found online if your local sports channels are not broadcasting the game or if you happen to be busy and cannot catch the game live, follow TalkChelsea on Twitter as it would provide live match commentary on the action.

[1] http://www.thechels.co.uk/4712-statistical-preview-chelsea-vs-man-city-2014-02-01/
[2] http://eplindex.com/48949/manchester-city-chelsea-preview.html
[3] http://eplindex.com/48949/manchester-city-chelsea-preview.html
[4] http://www.fourfourtwo.com/statszone/8-2013/matches/695136/pre-match



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So, is the bet still on? If we win tonight, I change @[member='BluesMaster'] name to #1 Belieber :yay:


What's your part in this if that doesn't happen??

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think their wings have only pace and has lost something without nasri.... i feel that injury is gonna be the reason for their tactical failure tonite....

as long as milner doesnt play and they stick to thier offensive formation all we have to do is keep the game on the sides and use hazard and william effectively....

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I feel humiliated by [b]@[member='The Skipper'][/b], pre-match reports. I should hide after writing mine...

This is amazing, mate.

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