Manchester City (2nd 2014/15) welcome Chelsea FC (Champions 2014/15) to the expanded Etihad stadium.
This will be the first home match of the season and the first match played in front of the new level 3 South Stand, extended singing section and an expected record Etihad attendance of just under 55,000. Exciting how quickly things have changed on and off the pitch with the state of the art Etihad Campus and the expansion; makes you proud to be a blue! Astounding really when you contemplate the progress and realize it’s only just over 12 years from the day City beat Barcelona in the first game at the City of Manchester Stadium.
The stadium will surely be buzzing with excitement and should be an important influence in motivating our players, let’s continue to make the Etihad an imposing fortress!
Squad (from): Caballero, Hart, Wright, Demichelis, Denayer, Kolarov, Kompany, Mangala, Sagna, Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Lopes, Nasri, Navas, Silva, Toure, Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho
Injured: Fernando, Delph, Clichy
Squad (from): Begovic, Blackman, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Ake, Hazard, Fabregas, Matic, Willian, Mikel, Ramires, Cuadrado, Loftus-Cheek, Moses, Traore, Costa, Remy ,Falcao
Chelsea have a clean bill of health although Oscar is doubtful, Chelsea will be missing Courtois for 1 match after seeing red vs Swansea despite appealing the decision.
POTENTIAL LINE UPS
I anticipate Mourinho will play Zouma before Oscar. The selection of Fernando could be critical in defending set pieces; playing without his added height could be a huge risk as Chelsea are clearly dominant aerially.
We could use this perceived weakness as a strength by restricting the number of players Chelsea can commit forward leaving Sterling and Aguero forward on the last man with Silva on the edge of the box ready to pounce for a fast fluid counter attack.
Reading between the lines, I expect Mourinho to push Fabregas further forward for this match in hope that he can control the offensive play from this position. I believe Fabregas is much stronger than Oscar in this position and would have more impact dictating the Chelsea offensive play. Azpilicueta will be a defensive anchor on the Chelsea left allowing Hazard free reign to exploit the spaces that Fabregas will create in behind Zabaleta and between Zabaleta and Kompany. If Fernandinho and Fernando can limit the control Fabregas has and dominate this zone then this will greatly diminish the threat from Hazard and Costa.
Silva and YaYa will be the creative stars for City supplying Sterling and Aguero.
Nasri with 4 goals in last 10 appearances will be unfortunate to miss out but think he will on this occasion; what odds for a Nasri winner from off the bench!?
The referee will require a strong performance as Matic is a very dirty player who for reasons unbeknownst to most is given freedom to kick lumps out of his opponents. The Sterling v Azpilicueta battle will be very interesting; Azpilicueta is rated one of the best defensive full backs in the league but Sterling has the speed and technical ability to devastate many defenders this season. The Chelsea defensive line tend to sit deep with Matic covering the zone directly in front of Terry but there should be space to be found by Sterling if he can utilize the switch of wings to exploit the gap that Ivanovic leaves as the more offensive full back.
Defending with high intensity and the will to win the ball at set-pieces could be the difference between obtaining a key result in such an important fixture. We need Hart, Kompany and Mangala to be a dominant force attacking each set-piece delivery into our box. More than 35 % of goals conceded were from set-pieces last season and with this being one of Chelsea strongest attributes we must remain focused and ensure that we address this.
LAST 10 FIXTURES
- 21 Mar 2012 Manchester City v Chelsea WIN 2-1
- 12 Aug 2012 Chelsea v Manchester City WIN 2-3
- 25 Nov 2012 Chelsea v Manchester City DRAW 0-0
- 24 Feb 2013 Manchester City v Chelsea WIN 2-0
- 14 Apr 2013 Chelsea v Manchester City WIN 1-2
- 27 Oct 2013 Chelsea v Manchester City LOSS 2-1
- 03 Feb 2014 Manchester City v Chelsea LOSS 0-1
- 15 Feb 2014 Manchester City v Chelsea WIN 2-0
- 21 Sep 2014 Manchester City v Chelsea DRAW 1-1
- 31 Jan 2015 Chelsea v Manchester City DRAW 1-1
MANAGER HEAD TO HEAD
There has been vast media coverage about the Pellegrini - Mourinho head to head.
Managerial strategy, tactical knowledge, player management, mind games and media handling are key attributes when considering a manager. However the most important factor is team performance, team morale and being a good man; Pellegrin excels at this, let’s take a closer look at the history, similarities and how they differ in their approach to pursuing the title.
Both managers are well respected in football circles for their successes; it is clear Mourniho edges it from a trophy haul perspective. Both have managed Real Madrid; Pellegrini lead Madrid achieved 96 points, a club record until it was surpassed by Jose Mourinho in 2011–12 season after replacing Manuel.
The two managers have gone head to head as managers on 11 occasions, Mourinho amassed 7 wins, 3 draws and Pellegrini has achieved 1 win whilst manager of Malaga back in 2012. Mourinho teams have scored 29 goals compared to Pellegrini teams have scored 11 goals. So on the face of it that would appear that Mourinho has a clear edge over his rival.
This isn’t a shut case though when we consider the Chelsea to Manchester City head-to-head under these managers in which Chelsea lead 5 goals to the 3 of City. The fixture is usually a very tight affair, average 2 goals per game and has often been decided by an individual error or a moment of brilliance.
Mourinho has been very quiet on challenge expected from Manchester City thus far choosing a battle of words with Arsene Wenger. The lack of conflict has prompted many to question if Mourinho believes Manchester City aren’t a real danger to Chelsea title credentials.
Pellegrini is a honorable, honest, respected manager who applies integrity and ensures his main focus is improving his team not manipulating the media, referees or opposition players.
I’m sure this is one of the key reasons he is respected by his peers!
Don’t get me wrong i’m sure Mourinho is respected by other managers for his winning mentality.
I believe the charming man will engineer a clinical blow in this mental battle against Mourinho!
Madrid 7-0 Malaga | Malaga 0-4 Madrid | Madrid 3-2 Malaga | Malaga 0-1 Madrid |
Madrid 1-1 Malaga | Malaga 3-2 Madrid | Madrid 6-2 Malaga
Chelsea 2-1 Man City | Man City 0 – 1 Chelsea | Man City 1 – 1 Chelsea | Man City 1 – 1 Chelsea
It seems pre-season that all the talk is of Another Title For Chelsea?
EPL Preview 2015-16 provides an interesting insight into the Chelsea title defense.
The majority of pundits have them as favourites which is hard to question due to the stability of the playing squad and ease in which they won the title last season.
That’s 4 out of 5 pundits of the 53 polled that think Chelsea will win the league this season !
The squad stability was very apparent when selecting the best 11, I think most people could predict the majority of starters in the Chelsea line-up. On the contrary ask 10 City fans and they would all provide you a different starting 11; that’s not a knock, to me it highlights the strength of the City squad, element of surprise and that we don’t actually know our strongest starting 11. There is not a definitive answer though as there will be plenty of opportunity for all to impress, the one area perhaps we would benefit from improved stability and less rotation is in defense.
It appears Manchester City are currently flying under the radar with very few pundits predicting a title challenge and some that we will miss out on top 4!
The EPL 2015-16 Season Preview – Manchester City makes for interesting reading with City seen as somewhat an unknown. City finished trophy-less and second after what many described as a disappointing season but their were positives; many of the statistical analysis was positive, Aguero winning golden boot and Hart the golden glove (his 4th). The real damage was done mid-season when we seen a return of 15 points in 12 games, I expect that come the end of the season Manchester City will be challenging for the title with Chelsea. Let’s hope City can take the positives out of last season and learn from the mistakes.
Positives: Referee for our 2011 FA Cup final / 2014 Football League Cup final wins.
His First Premier league game was an away victory for Manchester City against Crystal Palace in a game where he awarded 2 penalties converted by Anelka and Andrew Johnson.
Negative: Poor time keeping lead to Michael Owen 96th-minute goal in the derby.
Atkinson has never refereed a match between the two teams so no previous history for this fixture.
ASST. REF. 1: Stephen Child Kent
ASST. REF. 2: Mike Mullarkey Devon
4TH OFFICIAL: Jon Moss Leeds