Two teams that both plan to be a little big higher up the table than they’re current position, Chelsea and Manchester City meet at Stamford Bridge for the main match of the 9th Premier League round of matches.
If past records at home and away matches are to count for anything, Chelsea have nothing to be worried about. They’ve won four of four this season at home, as Jose Mourinho as a Chelsea manager is undefeated at home in 64 matches, winning 50 of them. Furthermore, Manchester City have won only once away from home this season in the league, and have won just two of their previous 16 Premier League trips to Stamford Bridge. Their last victory came in 2010, when Chelsea actually won the league title.
But the past means nothing when there are a lot of new players on both sides. Manchester City have a better midfield than Chelsea, and Jose Mourinho has been playing rather negative tactics in his matches against “big” teams, looking to draw in both his encounters against Manchester United and Tottenham.
In general, the approach to football is very different between Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho, which have had clashes of words between them during their La Liga days. But it’s not their attitude that will decide the match; it’s winning the key matchups and battles.
Regardless of who plays on the left side of midfield for Manchester City, it’ll be their commitment to helping Yaya Toure and Fernandinho in the middle of the pitch that will help decide the outcome of the match, just like in the Manchester Derby with Samir Nasri. Toure is the best player on the pitch from both teams, but he needs to be free of having to focus completely on defense. However, with Vincent Kompnay probably out, we’re going to see a shakier and less confident defensive unit from City, who have had their problems this season due to Joe Hart lacking any sort of consistency.
At Chelsea, it’s always a toss up what lineup Jose Mourinho will start with behind his striker. However, Fernando Torres probably deserves being the frontman, and we’re likely to see Eden Hazard, Oscar and a third option – Andre Schurrle possibly, playing in front of Frank Lampard and Ramires. If there will be enough help on Toure’s bursts forward, Chelsea should be able to dominant possession and the flow of the match.
Prediction – At home, Chelsea are favorites, but it doesn’t mean that they’re the better team. Despite the height and size of their defenders, they’ve been having problems dealing with crosses. Alvaro Negredo might be the best aerial threat in the Premier League (and Edin Dzeko is no slouch). Sergio Aguero is in fantastic form, and that combination will be too difficult for the problematic Chelsea midfield to handle, giving City the away win.