PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: MANCHESTER CITY V CHELSEA - PART TWO
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
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.