Wednesday, 21 March 2012

City vs Chelsea: Match Preview

By Aaron Leggott

With ten games to go until the end of the season, things are starting to hot up at the top of the table. Manchester City are fighting for their first ever Premier League title against bitter rivals Manchester United, whilst Chelsea are in a race to grab a top four finish alongside Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea celebrate Frank Lampard's penalty in the reverse fixture
(Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe)

It won't be easy for either sides. Two games ago, Roberto Mancini said that his team would need to win 11 out of the last 12 matches, and after defeat to Swansea City in our last game, it is imperative that victory is ensured at the Etihad Stadium tonight.

Manchester United saw themselves climb to the top of the summit for the first time since October after an impressive 5-0 annihilation at Molineux on Sunday afternoon.

It has definitely put the pressure on the Blues, who are set to welcome back Carlos Tevez for the first time since his infamous bust up with Mancini in Bavaria a few months back and it wouldn't be a surprise to see his name all over the back pages if he is to feature.

We have been treated to some classic encounters between the top sides this season, and we only have to look as far as Stretford, as the likes of David Silva and Mario Balotelli created memories which remain vivid in the minds of both blue and red.

So for that reason, don't be surprised to see another quality game. A win for City will create another Premier League record, and they will become the fourth team in football history to win 20 consecutive league games, alongside Liverpool in 1972, Newcastle in 1906-07 and Preston in 1891-92.

This game will probably be one of the toughest of the past 20 league games for Mancini's men. After the appointment of interim manager Roberto di Matteo, Chelsea have been in scintilating form, winning every game under the Italian, and even Fernando Torres has seemed to re-discover some of his old ways under di Matteo.
"Kaptain Kompany" is a great boost.
(Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe)

Another man who has seemed to have been given a second chance this season is Frank Lampard, who has spent the majority of this campaign on the sidelines under AVB. However, he has grabbed his chance to impress under AVB's former assistant, and the midfield general is hoping to score his 150th Premier League goal against a side whom he coincidentally beat with his penalty in the reverse fixture last December.

However, with the expected return of Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany to City's defence, it is a big boost after a few defensive wobbles in the past fortnight. In my opinion, Stefan Savic just isn't cut out for this level of football just yet, and will take a good few years to mature into anything which we need.

Did you know...?

We have not seen the Blues draw a blank at home since November 2010, when Birmingham held us to a goalless draw. A goal tonight will have seen us gone 27 consecutive home games without not scoring.

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