Venue: Etihad Stadium
Date: Sunday, 24 February
Kick-off: 13.30 GMT
City away – not a fixture I particularly fancy us in right now but then again, given our recent ‘performances’ (and I use that term in its loosest sense) against Brentford and Sparta Prague, I’m not sure I’d rate our chances against Accrington Stanley either.
Negative I know, but I’m just not comfortable with how we ‘play’ under FSW – or more to the point, how we fail to do exactly that. It’s not inspiring and it’s not pretty to watch – and with two of my least favourite managers on the sidelines, this could well end up one of the most uncomfortable games I’ll sit through this season.
Going into today’s game, City manager Mancini seems to be more interested in sympathising with his opposite number than talking about the game, saying “When you start your job, this job, you know that it could be every year the same situation. If you win you are the best, if you don’t win you are the worst manager. But this is part of our job. I have sympathy for all the managers but this doesn’t change. When you change a manager it is normal that you can have a problem, but it is my opinion that Chelsea is a fantastic team and also Benitez is a fantastic manager.” Oh and he also says “we need to win to stay in the Premier League race.” Genius.
For City, Vincent Kompany (calf) will face a late fitness test and Gareth Barry (ankle) is given as a doubt
For Chelsea, Oriol Romeu remains out long-term, whilst Frank Lampard, Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba could all be recalled to the starting line-up.
MAN CITY (Possible line-up): Hart; Zabaleta, Lescott, Nastasic, Clichy; Y Touré, Garcia; Nasri, Silva, Agüero; Dzeko
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Lampard, Ramires ;Mata, Oscar, Hazard; Torres
Chelsea 0-0 Man City (25th November 2012)
For me, the outcome depends on how City respond to the fact United have opened up the sort of gap I wish I had between me and my noisy neighbours. Will the 15 point deficit inspire City to batter us or, the fact that a win would see us getting closer to 2nd place than I’d have thought possible, see their bottle go?
As for us, well we’ll put in 20 minutes out of the 90 again and FSW will respond with the usual urgency by swapping right-backs and giving Ba his ten minute slot at the end.