Whenever two English Premier League giants face off, it will be an intriguing match. But the showdown between Chelsea and Manchester City is not just another marquee match, and earning a positive result is abnormally important for both sides.
The tension in this match will be nearly suffocating, and every player on the pitch will be under immense pressure to perform.
While losing to a top-class team is often met by a team’s fan base with begrudging understanding, a defeat in this match will likely lead to criticism of a much nastier nature.
Each team is in desperate need of a positive result, and here is each top storyline broken down and analyzed.
Rafa Benitez’ Debut
The headlines after this game will all revolve around Chelsea’s new boss, regardless of the result.
Roman Abramovich was especially impatient with Roberto Di Matteo, firing him just three months into this season. Now, the former Liverpool manager will make his return to the Premier League and attempt to turn the Blues around.
Benitez’ arrival will come with the hope of an impending revival for Fernando Torres, who enjoyed so much success under his compatriot while the two were both at Anfield. Even if he is not able to get the Spanish striker back to the level he was at with the Reds, Benitez must find a way to make this match competitive.
The Blues have been in terrible form recently and have just two victories in eight matches. They are coming off an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Juventus this past week, and another dud will amplify the chaos at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City has already suffered its second early exit from the Champions League in as many years, and Chelsea’s hopes at reaching the knockout stage hang by a thread.
If Juventus defeat Shakhtar Donetsk, the Blues will become the first team ever to win the competition then fail to make it out of their group in the following year. With little to be excited about in Europe, these two teams must ensure that their seasons are not complete losses.
Both will be turning their full attention to domestic competitions, and the Premier League title will likely be the top prize for both squads this year.
A victory in this fixture will slightly lessen the pain these two groups of supporters have felt while watching their teams in UCL matches this season.
Race for the Top
After Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion won their matches on Saturday, the pressure is on both City and Chelsea to earn all three points up for grabs in this match.
The Citizens are two points behind their archrivals, and anything less than a victory would cede the advantage back to United.
The Blues are now two points behind the Baggies, and if they fail to defend their home turf with a win, their slide down the table will continue as they fall into fourth place.
Failing to come out on top in this match will put either team in a position they certainly do not want to be in. All of these factors will surely lead to an exciting fixture.