How Manchester City Will Line Up Against Chelsea in Premier League Showdown

Phil Keidel@@PhilKeidelContributor IIFebruary 2, 2014

It promises to be a flinty affair between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad.
It promises to be a flinty affair between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad.Alastair Grant/Associated Press

If you have reached this point, you do not need me to blow smoke at you.

You already pretty much know what the starting XI for both Manchester City and Chelsea are going to look like in this delectable clash between expensive, gifted sides who do not much like each other.

And that's just the players.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho celebrated his side's October win over City at Stamford Bridge by yukking it up with the locals.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini was not impressed.

"I don't expect a different way to celebrate from him. It's normal," Pellegrini said, according to "No, I didn't shake [his] hand. I didn't want [to]."

Oh boy.

Since that loss to Chelsea, City have 21 wins, one loss and one draw in all competitions.

If the Chelsea gaffer wants it, Pellegrini should get Mourinho a front row seat at the Etihad on Monday night.

You know Pellegrini would like nothing more than to hang six or seven goals on Mr. "I can win 1-0." Regrettably for Pellegrini, he will be without two of his prime offensive threats.

Samir Nasri continues to convalesce from the nasty injury he sustained against Newcastle United a few weeks back. And Sergio Aguero limped off (again) against Tottenham Hotspur last week; the Argentine's on-again, off-again fitness is quickly becoming a concern for Pellegrini.

But Pellegrini's cupboard is certainly not bare.

Alvaro Negredo dressed for the match against Spurs and is thus presumably fit for this Chelsea match. Jesus Navas has blossomed in Nasri's absence, taking a more aggressive and responsible role for City's offense since the Frenchman went down.

So Pellegrini's XI is bent, but certainly not broken, and should look like this: Joe Hart; Gael Clichy, Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis, Pablo Zabaleta; David Silva, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Jesus Navas; Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo.

And let's have it then.