EPL powers Manchester City and Chelsea continue their United States tour on Saturday as they will meet for the second time in three days at Yankee Stadium in New York. If this match is anywhere near as exciting as their previous encounter on Thursday night, there is no question that it will be a highly entertaining affair.
The two teams met at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Thursday in what was a tale of two halves. Chelsea charged out to a 3-0 lead, but the Citizens battled back and were able to erase the deficit before netting the winning goal in the final seconds. City's 4-3 victory was certainly a great showcase for high-level soccer on the American stage.
As big as that match was, their forthcoming meeting at Yankee Stadium is even bigger. Manchester City recently partnered with the New York Yankees as they will co-own an MLS team known as New York City FC, which will begin play in 2015.
Man City will absolutely want to put on a show for the New York fans in anticipation of NYCFC, so look for a style of play similar to what they displayed on Thursday.
Here is everything you need to know about the second friendly showdown between Manchester City and Chelsea on Saturday, including when and where to watch it as well as which players to keep tabs on.
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York
When: Saturday, May 25 at 5:30 p.m.
Watch: FOX Soccer
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2 Go (available on tape delay at 11:59 p.m. ET)
Rosters (courtesy of Yankees PR Department)
Yankees PR Dept. @YankeesPR
Rosters just announced for @mcfc & @chelseafc Saturday at Yankee Stadium. See pic. Tix at http://t.co/kdKq0bTYVS. http://t.co/mFer8oE8ZL5/23/2013, 11:07:24 PM
Manchester City Player to Watch: Micah Richards
It's easy to get caught up in Manchester City's offensive talent, as there is plenty of it with players like Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez in attack, but defender Micah Richards was the star on Thursday night. After Man City managed to erase Chelsea's 3-0 lead, Richards scored the game-winning goal in front of a 48,000-strong crowd, according to the official Premier League Twitter account.
Premier League @premierleague
A crowd of 48,000 in St Louis watched @MCFC come from 3-0 down to beat @ChelseaFC 4-3 in a friendly, Micah Richards with the winner5/24/2013, 7:17:03 AM
Richards didn't score a single goal for the Citizens this season, but he provided solid defense and got better as the year went on. It probably isn't fair to expect Richards to score again on Saturday, but Manchester City figure to be even more aggressive than usual in a friendly setting, so it's possible that Richards will jump into the play and take aim.
Even if Richards is conservative offensively, though, he will be extremely important from a defensive standpoint. Chelsea has a large stable of offensive stars, and they were on full display early in Thursday's match as they helped Chelsea jump out to a 3-0 lead. Man City were able to shut them down the rest of the way, and Richards' play had a lot to do with that.
No matter how Saturday's game is ultimately paced, Richards promises to be a factor. Manchester City will use this match against a top-level opponent to play squad members that are deserving of more playing time. Richards definitely fits into that category, and he proved it on Thursday. Look for more great things from him at Yankee Stadium.
Chelsea Player to Watch: Juan Mata
There are so many players on Chelsea's roster who can strike at any moment, but there is little doubt that the attack runs primarily through forward Juan Mata. He was fantastic for Chelsea this season as he netted 12 goals and led the team with 12 assists. He plays well with the team's other attackers, and opposing defenders never know if he is looking to shoot or if he is trying to set up a teammate.
Mata didn't score on Thursday night, but he was a big factor. He set up Demba Ba's headed goal with a solid cross. After that, he was fouled in the box, which led to a penalty kick and another goal for Chelsea. Mata is always in the middle of things on the pitch, and that was quite apparent on Thursday.
Despite Chelsea's disappointing loss, Mata enjoyed his time in St. Louis. He tweeted about the fun atmosphere that the fans provided and even posted a photo that showed how many people were in attendance to support international soccer.
If he thought St. Louis offered a great atmosphere, he is sure to love New York. There are tons of soccer fans in the city who have been craving a big-time international match, and that is precisely what they are getting on Saturday.
Mata is an energetic player who seems to feed off the energy of the crowd at times, so he could be in for a huge performance at Yankee Stadium.
Matchup to Watch: Joe Hart vs. Petr Cech
While it's tough to pinpoint one important matchup in a friendly since there are many more substitutions than usual, the goalkeeping battle will certainly be something to watch. The regular starting goalkeepers did start Thursday's match; Joe Hart and Petr Cech were in for Man City and Chelsea respectively. Cech performed quite well, but the same can't be said for Hart.
The Citizens' goalkeeper surrendered two goals before being lifted in favor of Richard Wright. Chelsea's issues didn't start until Jamal Blackman came in for Cech. Had the two starting goalies remained in the game throughout, it's certainly possible that Chelsea would have won the match. With that said, it will be interesting to see if Hart and Cech go head-to-head again on Saturday.
Since both Manchester City and Chelsea want to put on a great show for the fans, it's likely that they will start their best players. That means Hart will have a chance to gain redemption, while Cech can try to build on his impressive showing. The goalkeepers are sure to be busy as both teams figure to employ offensive tactics and play a wide-open game.
Cech outplaying Hart ultimately didn't help Chelsea on Thursday, but Hart will definitely be playing with fire if he has another subpar outing on Saturday.
Since Manchester City will be playing at its de facto home away from home in the form of Yankee Stadium, look for the Citizens to be fired up and for them to pick up another one-goal victory in a match featuring plenty of offensive fireworks.
Manchester City 3, Chelsea 2
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