24 November, 2012 - 07:00

Premier League Fixtures' Preview: Chelsea vs Man City

Premier League Fixtures' Preview: Chelsea vs Man City

The encounter between Chelsea and Man City is undoubtedly the key fixture of the English Premier League Matchday 13. Here are some facts about the highly anticipated match.

Chelsea’s recent form

After the winningless streak of four matches Chelsea slipped to the third spot in the Premier League table with 24 points from after 12 matches. The Blues also struggled in the Champions’ League suffering 3-0 defeat against Juventus. As a result, Chelsea’s fate is no longer in their hands: they badly need a win in their last game of the Group Stage against FC Nordsjælland and hope that Shakhtar Donetsk will secure a win over Juventus. The string of poor results exhausted the patience of the trigger happy Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich who has finally fired coach Roberto di Matteo after the nine months in charge of The Blues and just six months after claiming Champions’ League title.

On Wednesday Chelsea have unveiled Rafa Benítez as their new coach and the match on Sunday will be his first in a new role. Supporters are undoubtedly hoping that the new boss will bring fresh momentum to their team. And yet Benítez may have not had enough time for the adaptation and may be unprepared to deliver the victory over the defending champion immediately.

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City’s recent form

Currently defending champions are topping the Premier League table with 28 points after twelve games. They have not suffered defeats as of yet. The Citizens have disgracefully left the Champions League, and have only slim chances to get to the Europa League. Unsurprisingly Roberto Mancini is under heavy pressure with Pep Guardiola considered his most likely replacement.

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Both sides will try to leave their Champions’ League disappointments behind their backs and do everything they can to ensure the victory.

Di Matteo has decided to bench Fernando Torres in the match against Juventus, but the new manager Rafa Benítez is likely to include the out-of-favored striker to the first team in the match against City. He knows the ability of the Spanish player better than anyone and probably Torres will repay his manager’s faith and get back to his best. Daniel Sturridge who has recently returned to fitness is also expected to start upfront. Ivanovic along with Cahill and David Luiz will perform defending duties.

Man City have plenty of attacking options but the Argentinian duo Tévez and Agüero is likely to feature in the starting eleven against The Blues. Both Balotelli and Džeko will be benched for the following reasons - the Italian suffered back injury while the Bosnian has been distinctly average in the match against Juve.

There are few injury problems persisting within the squads of both teams. Chelsea have lost their two iconic players John Terry and Frank Lampard due to the injuries. Man City will certainly miss their captain Vincent Kompany, with Micah Richards, Gaël Clichy, and Mario Balotelli are also sidelined.

Possible starting lineups according to goal.com:

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole; Ramires, Mikel; Mata, Hazard, Oscar; Torres.
Manchester City: Hart; Maicon, Nastasic, Lescott, Zabaleta; Toure, Garcia, Silva, Nasri, Tévez, Agüero.

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Author: Basil Naumov

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