CHELSEA v Man City: Preview

Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Saturday, 31 January
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT

We could really have done without the length of our League Cup game midweek with a game against City today but then we could also have done without the media playing judge and jury to see through Costa’s ban as well.
Both happened though, so we’ll just have to get on with the job in hand now and I suspect for Jose Mourinho, particularly with Costa missing, the agenda will be to not lose.
We come into the game with a five point gap we’ve again managed to create thanks to City only clawing five points from their last four in the league although I’m not sure any of us will get too excited about that given the previous gap we let slip. The important point though, is that by the end of today, that gap could be as big as eight points or as little as two.
No pressure.

MANAGER’S VIEWS’
Going into today’s game, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said absolutely nothing, so it can’t be written down and used in evidence against us.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini meanwhile, once he’d finished putting his two pence worth over Costa, says “I think it is a very important game. It is not the game that will decide the title because after that we have to play for 45 points more. If you remember some years ago this club won the title after being eight points behind Manchester United, so in football you never know. But it is a very important game and it is important for us to try and close that gap as soon as we can.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Chelsea, the FA managed to rule Diego Costa out of the next 3 games, after somehow deciding he’d stamped on Can’s leg without taking his eye off the ball. Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis are doubtful after picking up injuries midweek although Branislav Ivanovic is likely to have recovered from his.
For City, it’s just Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony unavailable whilst on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

TEAMS
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Drogba
MAN CITY (Possible line-up): Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Fernandinho, Fernando, Silva, Lampard, Navas, Aguero

LAST SEASON
Chelsea 2-1 Man City (27 October 2013)

OTHER STUFF
■City have only won two Premier League games at Stamford Bridge
■Chelsea have beaten Man City more often in the Premier League than any other team have
■Chelsea are unbeaten in the last three league meetings
■Chelsea have the best home defensive record in the league this season
■City are without a win in their last three games
■City have not lost away from home in all competitions since 25 October
■City are the only team to score in every away Premier League game this season.

PREDICTION
I’m not convinced we’ll pick up more than a few bookings from this one.

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