• Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Can Chelsea step up against Man City?

Man-city

The opening weekend of the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League campaign delivered amassing goals, drama and compelling stories.

With Manchester City squaring up against Chelsea this Sunday, there will be no let-up in the action.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men welcome Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea to the newly expanded Etihad Stadium, and with the hosts seeking a five-point gap over their title rivals, this clash is a must-watch.

Meetings between these two sides are never dull – and there’s plenty to look out for in this one.

Chelsea stuttered at home in the first game of their title defence, while City made a perfect start by winning away from home.

City have had a really unimpressive pre-season but got the ground running at West Brom, running out 3-0 against the Baggies.

Up front, City have sold Dzeko and Jovetic but have the services of Auguero, Silva and have recruited Raheem Sterling from Liverpool.

Man-city

Manuel Pellegrini is confident his team have enough firepower to win the Premier League.

The Blues have top-scored in the league in both the manager’s seasons in charge. And despite selling Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic this summer, the Chilean is happy with his options.

Ivorian power player Yaya Toure was substituted out of the West Brom victory holding his groin, but Pellegrini confirmed the Ivorian would be fit to face the visiting title rivals..

Given the stature of the two sides, football pundits are already billing this is a key moment in the title race, City have the potential to go five points clear of last season’s champions after just two games.

“We are not thinking about title in our second game but about winning our points at home,” Pellegrini said.

“We’re playing against champions, against one of the team that has chances to win the title, so to try to win the three points at home is very important.”

The game will be played in front of the newly extended Etihad Stadium and Pellegrini is keen to kick off a new era.

“It’s very important to improve and try to be a bigger club in all senses, so to extend the stadium by 7000 more seats is great for the club and the fans.”

Chelsea is seeking to redeem itself following a poor show against Swansea.

Blues

Chelsea boss will be without midfielder Oscar for Sunday’s trip to the Etihad Stadium while Asmir Begovic is likely to take the place of the suspended Thibaut Courtois in goal.

Chelsea have not done badly against City in recent meetings, losing 1 out of 5 games but fail d to deafest city last season.

The Blues must get season back on track after a turbulent week.

With Thibaut Courtois suspended after his sending off against Swansea, the £8m summer signing will make his first Chelsea start at the Etihad.

Frank Lampard 85th minute strike gave City the equaliser against his former club in September 2014.

Chelsea’s off-the-ball work was outstanding last season, but on the opening day of this Barclays Premier League campaign, Swansea exposed the flaws in the champion’s make-up. Catching Chelsea’s notoriously tight rearguard cold, before they have had time to readjust or drop off, is the most effective way of opening them up, and Swansea hurt them several times in this way, memorably from the incident that led to Thibaut Courtois being sent off.

Manchester City have the tools to worry Jose Mourinho’s men in this type of scenario.

In the midfield Yaya Toure and David Silva are two of the finest creative passers in the Barclays Premier League, and with Raheem Sterling’s arrival, City have an additional firepower in the attack with pace to aim for when sliding passes in behind defenders.

 

Anthony Nlebem