The Etihad Stadium
Mon 03 Feb 2014 20:00 (Attendance: 47,364)
The top flight's biggest fixture this weekend is left to last but the build-up begins here. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton assess our team's chances of closing the small gap above…
Welcome back to the 21st Century for this clash of the Premier League's titans. Wednesday's disappointing home draw with the Hammers, along with the timing of fixtures over this weekend, heap more pressure on both Blues hues to make good in this catch-up clash.
Second-placed Arsenal can ease back above Manchester City and pull five points away from Chelsea should they beat Crystal Palace at home on Sunday, as expected. Liverpool, who travel to struggling West Brom the same day, could pull back to one point behind Jose Mourinho's side. Next weekend, though, Arsenal play Liverpool at Anfield (without the banned Mathieu Flamini).
A win for Chelsea on Monday would bring points parity with the favourites for the title. Historically Monday is not the Blues' most successful day of the week. This will be our 295th since the 1905/06 season and we have won 40 per cent, drawn 28 per cent and lost 32 per cent. (Since you ask, Thursday is our favourite with a win percentage of 55.)
Both Monday matches so far this season, at Old Trafford and the Emirates, ended 0-0.The previous one was the 1-0 FA Cup replay victory over Man United in April 2013.
This is, of course, the first of two Etihad clashes separated by 13 days, the second coming in the FA Cup on Saturday 15 February. City's calendar around that date is complicated: they host Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League the following Tuesday.
The Round of 16 is staggered, so Chelsea's meetings with Galatasaray are the week after the City-Barça games - we currently have a free week following the FA Cup match.
This will be the seventh time Pellegrini and Mourinho have crossed swords. When they met in the Primera between 2011 and 2013, Real trumped Malaga in three of the five games. One was drawn, as was their only meeting on English soil.
City have regularly announced they believe they can win an unprecedented quadruple and, as Mourinho has said, they seemingly have the squad to do so. Yet Pellegrini has not taken a team over the line to win any silverware in 10 years - one of them spent at Real Madrid. The temperament of the 60-year-old Chilean will come under increasing scrutiny as the latter stages of these competitions approach.
Last season gave an indication of how he might react. After his Malaga side were edged out of the Champions League semi-finals by a late brace from Borussia Dortmund, Pellegrini blamed dark forces for the result. 'It was difficult for a banned team to reach the semi-finals,' he said, referring to Malaga's suspension from the following season's UEFA competitions over non-payment of fees.
Never the less the Citizens again took maximum advantage from good fortune this season. The penalty against Spurs, Danny Rose's red card (now rescinded), plus the poor offside call after Michael Dawson put the ball in the net are the kinds of decisions that are not currently going Chelsea's way. Look no further than the opaque decision to rule out Samuel Eto'o's Artful Dodger-esque goal against the '19 Century' Irons for evidence of that.
However, Man City did lose key man Sergio Aguero to a hamstring injury at White Hart Lane that may keep him out of our showdown, while Alvaro Negredo appeared to damage his shoulder in the Capital One Cup win at West Ham.
Up to now Pellegrini's side have also looked favourites to top Chelsea's Premier League goalscoring record of 103 from the 2009/10 Double season. Following Wednesday's action, Tottenham have generously donated 11 to their tally of 68 from 23 matches. We averaged 2.71 strikes per game; City are currently notching up 2.96.
Chelsea managed the highest number of shots on goal without scoring since 2003/04 and, on top of the profligacy against Stoke in the Cup, that presents a headache for Mourinho. At least the Pensioners are stacking up clean sheets. There have been seven since the loss at Sunderland.
Top Premier League Clean Sheets
West Ham 10
Man City 8
Man City are unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions (18 wins, 2 draws) scoring 64 goals and conceding 21.
Oscar's strike last weekend against Stoke was the seventh goal we have scored direct from a free kick since the beginning of last season.
The other six are: Frank Lampard v Hull (h) Aug 2013, David Luiz against Basel (Europa League a) Apr 2013, Aston Villa (h) Dec 2012 and Nordsjaelland (Champions League a) Oct 2012 and two from Juan Mata against Man Utd (PL h) Oct 2012 and Arsenal (a) Sep 2012. (Thanks to Chelsea TV's Neil Barnett for help compiling this.)
|Top seven mini-league *|
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Newcastle v Sunderland 12.45pm
West Ham v Swansea 12.45pm - BT Sport
Cardiff v Norwich 3pm
Everton v Aston Villa 3pm
Fulham v Southampton 3pm
Hull v Tottenham 3pm
Stoke v Manchester United 3pm
West Brom v Liverpool 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Arsenal v Crystal Palace 4pm - Sky Sports
Manchester City v Chelsea 8pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table - top eight|
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
Manchester City are averaging four goals a game at home but Chelsea have kept three consecutive clean sheets away on the road - this could be a fascinating encounter.
In the game at Stamford Bridge which Chelsea won 2-1 the two sides took it turns to enjoy periods of dominance and impress. Memorably, Fernando Torres capitalised on a catastrophic mix-up between centre-back Matija Nastasic and goalkeeper Joe Hart to snatch all three points in the last minute. Hart was dropped for seven league games but has since been reinstated.
Torres is unavailable this time around because of injury and it seems likely Samuel Eto'o will be asked to continue his stealthy ways upfront. The Cameroonian's arrival as a late substitute alongside Torres helped unnerve Monday's opponents at the Bridge.
This has been the first season Manuel Pellegrini has experienced without a winter break and squad injuries are increasing. Luxurious resources mean even with the in-form Samir Nasri, Javier García and Sergio Aguero on the sidelines, he has the likes of Edin Dzeko, Jesus Navas and Stevan Jovetic as perfect replacements.
The Chilean manager usually sets his team up in a 4-4-2 formation. In theory Chelsea should outnumber City in midfield with their two strikers and two wingers. In practice the hosts' forwards drop deep to help out and their central midfield pairing of Fernandinho and Yaya Toure is powerful enough to dominate most opponents with superior numbers.
However the Brazilian has a tendency to concede fouls and it is certain Jose Mourinho will have a special plan for dealing with Toure in particular, asking his attacking midfield trio to buzz around him deep in his own half.
He is likely to ask his team to maintain a high press against the Citizens' backline and central midfield, which among other things might also inhibit Pablo Zabaleta's highly effective attacking forays. The Chelsea manager may match up by pitting the tall, forceful Mikel and Nemanja Matic against them.
City defenders Gael Clichy, Aleksandar Kolarov and Martin Demichelis can be harassed into errors. Pellegrini has not solved who to play alongside the excellent Vincent Kompany at centre-back, as Nastasic's crucial error at the Bridge reiterated.
City do concede goals, as Watford can attest. Mourinho will hope for efficiency in front of goal should opportunities present themselves. According to Opta, Chelsea against West Ham accounted for the most shots at goal without scoring of any top-flight side since 2003/04.
Mourinho has shared an insight into how fleet-footed Egypt winger Mohamed Salah will be deployed when he explained that unlike most of our forwards, Salah likes to sprint into space behind defences. Of course that presents an option against teams playing with a high backline.
Chelsea's new no.15 has obtained his work permit and is available, though his last competitive action before Switzerland's winter break was on 6 November.
Clearly the primary concern facing the Mancunians is to stop them scoring. Having registered the most corners in the league and most shots off-target the Citizens often simply overwhelm opponents with wave after wave of attacks from all angles.
Aguero's absence suggests the equally prolific Alvaro Negredo will start alongside Dzeko. Negredo, dynamic and all left foot, is tuned to the same wavelength as David Silva, who hovers in space on the edge of the box looking to slip through-passes between opponents.
Mourinho will have drilled into all his players the need to prevent as many of those key passes reaching their target as possible. Once again, in a settled back five, his only decision is likely to be whether Ashley Cole returns to the fray to allow Cesar Azpilicueta to switch back to his more familiar right side against Silva.
Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton put their finishing touches to their study of the week's big fixture…
WE HAVE HISTORY
Manchester City have won seven of the last 11 meetings between the clubs since December 2009. However Chelsea have won 15 of the last 24 league matches at Maine Road and the Etihad Stadium, losing only six. City's victories in the last four seasons plus the one in 2004 are the only ones in 16 since the Premier League started in 1992.
On Monday 12 December 2011 City arrived at wet and windy Stamford Bridge unbeaten from the start of the league campaign but having been turfed out of the Champions League in midweek.
They began the game with power and confidence, Mario Balotelli picking up Sergio Aguero's clever pass, wrong-footing Branislav Ivanovic and rounding Petr Cech after two minutes. Aguero should have added a second soon after but dragged his shot wide.
Seemingly satisfied with their lot, City then slunk into a torpor. Didier Drogba drew a save from Joe Hart, then Daniel Sturridge picked up the ball out wide, left Gael Clichy for dead and crossed for Raul Meireles to smash in an equaliser.
Several players saw yellow in a niggly match and when Clichy tripped Ramires it was his second and he was ordered off with just over half an hour to go.
Chelsea pressed for a winner and when Joleon Lescott handled in the area Frank Lampard made no mistake from the spot. Final score: 2-1 to Chelsea.
Our last victory at the Etihad was in September 2008 when Luiz Felipe Scolari and Mark Hughes were the respective managers. Ricardo Carvalho, Frank Lampard and Nicolas Anelka replied to Robinho's opener. John Terry was sent off.
Our last 10 league meetings at Manchester City
2003/04 - Chelsea won 1-0
2004/05 - Man City won 1-0
2005/06 - Chelsea won 1-0
2006/07 - Chelsea won 1-0
2007/08 - Chelsea won 2-0
2008/09 - Chelsea won 3-1
2009/10 - Man City won 2-1
2010/11 - Man City won 1-0
2011/12 - Man City won 2-1
2012/13 - Man City won 2-0
The reverse fixture this season
27 October 2013 Barclays Premier League
Chelsea………..……2 Man City.……….…..1
Schurrle 32 Aguero 48
Chelsea v Manchester City in all competitions
Games played 148
Chelsea wins 62
City wins 49
Head to head in the League at Maine Road and the Etihad Stadium
Games played 68
Chelsea wins 21
City wins 31
Biggest league win at Man City for each team
Man City 6-2 Chelsea 26/11/1977
Man City 1-4 Chelsea 03/05/1933 and 01/10/1966
Since the November international break, the Blues have won 29 points from a possible 36. Only Man City with 34 have won more in the same period.
Chelsea have gained 14 points from losing positions this season, still the best record in the Barclays Premier League.
The Blues have won 11 of the 13 league games we have opened the scoring.
We are six points up compared to the corresponding 23 fixtures last season.
Chelsea have kept seven clean sheets and conceded just two goals in our last nine league and cup matches.
We have won 18 points from a possible 33 away from Stamford Bridge this term.
|Last six results|
|Jan 1||Southampton (a)||W 3-0|
|Jan 5||Derby (FA Cup a)||W 2-0|
|Jan 11||Hull (a)||W 2-0|
|Jan 19||Manchester United (h)||W 3-1|
|Jan 26||Stoke (FA Cup h)||W 1-0|
|Jan 29||West Ham (h)||D 0-0|
League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 2
An away defeat: 3
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sat 8 Feb||Newcastle home||3pm|
|Tue 11 Feb||West Brom away||7.45pm|
|Sat 15 Feb||Man City (FA Cup 5th round) away||5.15pm|
Frank Lampard's next converted penalty will be his 50th for the Blues.
Frank's next goal will be the 250th in his club career (Chelsea 209, West Ham 39, Swansea 1).
MAN CITY STATS
3 League championships, last in 2012
5 FA Cups, last in 2011
1 European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970
2 League Cups, last in 1976
4 FA Charity/Community Shields, last in 2012
Manchester City have won all 11 home Premier League games this season scoring 42 goals and conceding eight.
In all competitions they have scored 72 goals at the Etihad in 18 matches, an average of four per match. The only game they didn't win was against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in October.
Man City have scored three or more goals on 14 occasions at home this term:-
6 Tottenham, Arsenal, West Ham (LC)
5 Wigan (LC), CSKA Moscow (CL), Blackburn (FAC),
4 Newcastle, Man Utd, Viktoria Plzen (CL), Cardiff, Watford (FAC)
3 Everton, Swansea
2 Hull, Liverpool
1 Bayern Munich (CL), Crystal Palace
City's last defeat was at Sunderland on 10 November when they lost 0-1. They have won 11 and drawn one (at Southampton) in the Premier League since then.
Manchester City have scored at least one goal in their last 61 home Premier League games stretching back over three years. Birmingham were the last team to complete a shut-out in November 2010 when they achieved a goalless draw.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini
Days in charge: 234
|Man City's last 10 year league history|
|Last six results|
|Jan 12||Newcastle (a)||W 2-0|
|Jan 15||Blackburn (FA Cup h)||W 5-0|
|Jan 18||Cardiff (h)||W 4-2|
|Jan 21||West Ham (League Cup a)||W 3-0|
|Jan 25||Watford (FA Cup h)||W 4-2|
|Jan 29||Tottenham (a)||W 5-1|
Premier League scorers (68)
Aguero 15, Toure 12 (3 pens), Negredo 9, Dzeko 7, Nasri 4, Navas 4, Silva 4, own goals 4, Fernandinho 3, Kompany 3, Jovetic 1, Kolarov 1, Milner 1.
League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 17
A home defeat: 11
Completed January transfers
Ins Bertrand Traore (Bobo-Dioulasso, undisclosed), Nemanja Matic (Benfica, undisclosed), Mohamed Salah (Basel, undisclosed), Kurt Zouma (St-Etienne).
Outs Juan Mata (Man Utd, undisclosed), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg, undisclosed), Sam Walker (Colchester, undisclosed), Ryan Bertrand (Aston Villa, loan), Bertrand Traore (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Patrick Bamford (Derby, loan), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough, loan), Nathaniel Chalobah (Middlesbrough, loan), Josh McEachran (Wigan, loan), Michael Essien (AC Milan, free), Jon Muleba (Bournemouth), Billy Clifford (Royal Antwerp, loan), Matej Delac (FK Sarajevo, loan), Kurt Zouma (St-Etienne, loan), Gael Kakuta (Lazio, loan).
Outs John Guidetti (Stoke City, loan), Harry Bunn (Huddersfield Town, undisclosed), Albert Rusnak (Birmingham City, loan), Abdisalam Ibrahim (released), Emyr Huws (Birmingham, loan)
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Mike Dean is officiating his third Chelsea match this term. He was the referee for our 1-1 draw at Tottenham in September and the goalless draw at Arsenal just before Christmas.
There are no suspensions.
Visit again on Monday for Part Two of the Briefing.
A mighty performance earned a huge win in Manchester on Monday night with Branislav Ivanovic's sweet first-half strike separating these two title challengers.
Until this game City had been behind at home for only eight minutes during this league season but with Jose Mourinho's game plan working well, we not only ended their 100 per cent record, we also became the first team to stop them scoring on home soil.
There could have been more goals too for the visitors, with Samuel Eto'o, Nemanja Matic and Gary Cahill all hitting woodwork, and when City did strike on target, Petr Cech was equal to their best efforts.
The defence was unchanged from the draw at home to West Ham and Samuel Eto'o led the attack for the fourth game running, but there were changes in midfield.
The height of David Luiz and Nemanja Matic were paired in the centre and ahead of them, Ramires was played wide on the right with Eden Hazard on the left and Willian the more central of the attacking midfielders. That meant Oscar was on the bench, as was Mohamed Salah for the first time.
Man City's usual central midfield pair was broken up by an injury to Fernandinho which meant Martin Demichelis was moved from defence to partner Yaya Toure. Matija Nastasic came into central defence and Aleksander Kolarov was preferred to Gael Clichy at left-back. A third change from their starting line-up in their last game at Spurs was Alvaro Negredo replacing injured Sergio Aguero up front.
There were predictions from some quarters in the lead-up to this game that it would be a cagey affair; that Chelsea would come to defend and take a point. How lacking in foresight those proved to be.
It was a however a messy opening by Mourinho's men. With just seconds gone, Cesar Azpilicueta's clearance bounced off an opponent towards our area and Cech had to intervene twice with his feet, the second time nearly getting in a mix-up with Gary Cahill. Then Negredo was allowed into our area too easily but he snatched at such an early chance and rifled his shot over.
Vincent Kompany went in heavily on Eto'o from behind on five minutes and earned the game's first lecture from referee Mike Dean. The City captain was perhaps fortunate not to see a yellow card. Eto'o recovered, having managed to ride the foul well.
It was City's turn to look chaotic at the back when Hazard set Willian running at them but after a missed clearance by the home side, the Brazilian couldn't pick out a team-mate with a cross. It was an early sign of the counter-attacking that would cause City more problems as the half went on.
City showed their teeth when Pablo Zabaleta flashed a low ball across our six-yard box and the sliding Yaya Toure just failed to make contact at the far post. Toure did get his boot to the ball on 15 minutes and went close to scoring, scooping his shot from just outside the area over the bar.
The Ivorian was having a dominant few minutes, and from his driving run past Matic, he teed up David Silva who fortuitously could only help the ball wide of the far post from a few yards out.
Chelsea's immediate response lacked shooting aim. Eto'o fired straight at Hart and David Luiz skied a free-kick after Hazard on the run had been checked by Nastasic.
On 26 minutes however we almost showed what we could do as a counter-attacking force, but Hart dived and saved from Ramires. A right-foot first-time pass from Matic had set Willian away and he drew the defence towards him before setting up the shooting chance for his compatriot.
With our next attack we took the lead. Hazard was involved twice in the move, on each side of the pitch as the Blues exchanged passes in and around the City area. The Belgian picked out Ramires and although his shot was blocked, there was no stopping the thunderbolt that flew off the left boot of Ivanovic 25 yards out. There were 31 minutes gone and Chelsea were 1-0 ahead.
No sooner had the scorer finished celebrating and started playing again, he was booked for a foul on Silva.
To quickly emphasis that City were vulnerable, Hazard forced a save from Hart following a poor defensive clearance straight to his feet, after he had initially started the attack by shepherding a bouncing ball away from Demichelis.
Not long after, Demicheles was booked for a foul on Hazard and Kolarov followed into the notebook for one on David Luiz. In between those incidents, Dzeko shot high and wide for the home side whose fans were starting to sound a little frustrated.
Three minutes before the break, Hazard, who was giving City right-back Zabaleta a tough evening, opened up City with a run and cross from the left but when it came to unmarked Eto'o running in from the right, the Cameroonian's composure deserted him and he smashed his shot onto the bar.
Despite that miss, Manuel Pelligrini's side went in at the break knowing they were without doubt in a proper match.
The second period began as the first one finished, with Chelsea causing City all sorts of difficulties. One special Hazard dribble promised much until a moment of misunderstanding between him and Ivanovic; and then Willian had a shot deflected wide after Hart cleared poorly.
City threats on the Chelsea goal were inevitable too, with Toure firing wide with a low shot.
The impressive Nemanja Matic went a whole lot closer on 52 minutes when from 30 yards out, he hit the post with a lovely strike that would have beaten the diving Hart had it swung away a touch less.
Pellegrini was the first to shuffle his pack, bringing on Stevan Jovetic for Negredo on 56 minutes.
No-one could take their eyes off this enthralling contest as these two Premier League heavyweights continued to test each other to the full. David Luiz and Ramires carefully manufactured a corner and from Willian's delivery the Blues hit the woodwork for a third time, Cahill with a great leap and header the man denied. The England centre-back was back near his goal line only moments later to block a shot.
On 68 minutes Cahill was again the man in the right place to cut out a dangerous cross. The home side appeared to be rousing themselves with time now running out.
Willian conceded a free-kick in a concerning position and Cech was called upon to make his most difficult save yet from David Silva's strike. The Spaniard then shot wide from 12 yards out after City moved the ball quickly in attack.
Oscar replaced Eto'o as Mourinho made his first sub late in the game. Hazard would play as the most forward player until replaced in added time. The Belgian almost threaded the right pass for the overlapping Ramires but Hart was out quick enough to smother the ball.
A second goal on the break had been a possibility throughout and there was controversy when Chelsea broke with City lacking numbers at the back. Oscar was pulled down by Nastasic just inside the City half. Our man had a long way to go to goal but it could have been a red card. Instead the defender was shown yellow. Mourinho disagreed with the colour.
Willian was booked for taking too long to walk off as Chelsea made two subs in stoppage time.
In was tense, and Cech was called upon to make a late save from Jovetic who had improved his side since coming on, but when Nastastic took a swing and made poor contact as the final chance dropped inside the Chelsea area, three big points were ours and we had done the double over City.
We remain third in the table but only two points behind leaders Arsenal who are yet to come to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; D Luiz, Matic; Ramires, Willian (Mikel 90+2), Hazard (Ba 90+3); Eto'o (Oscar 83).
Unused subs Schwarzer, Cole, Lampard, Salah.
Scorer Ivanovic 31.
Booked Ivanovic 33, Matic 39, Willian 90+2.
Man City (4-4-2): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Kolarov; Navas, Y Toure, Demichelis, Silva; Dzeko, Negredo (Jovetic 56).
Unused subs Pantilimon, Clichy, Boyata, Milner, Rodwell, Lopes.
Booked Demichelis 36, Kolarov 42, Nastastic 86.
Referee Mike Dean