Manchester City vs. Chelsea: Five Key Battles To Look Out For
The Manchester City versus Chelsea game this Saturday is shaping up to be a classic.
If last years two games are anything to go by then a win for City could be more likely than many people think.
City have strengthened in a number of areas and even though Chelsea are in top form, and seemingly unstoppable. But similar things we're being said before each defeat to the Sky Blues last season as well.
On paper the teams are both very strong with Chelsea perhaps better up front and City able to dominate the midfield, and that is something not many teams can hope to do against Chelsea with Essien fit and well.
There are going to be hard fought competitions across the whole field however both teams have excellent goalkeepers and defences so it is likely to be a low scoring affair.
The game is likely to be won or lost in one of these 5 key areas
Ancelloti and Mancini know each other very well and although there is likely to be a love in at Eastlands they will be oozing respect for each others talents.
Ancelotti has the settled squad which is practically purring at the moment whereas Mancini still has some tweaking to do before he himself is happy.
The loss to injury of Boateng and Kolarov has held back Mancini's attacking style somewhat but that doesn't mean City will be boring.
The simple teaks that Mancini can effect could leave Ancelotti frowning but could mean that Chelsea have more space than they thought possible.
We are likely to see the same Chelsea side as we have so far this season but the way that City approach the game is a little more open to question.
If I were to be bold I would say that Mancini may surprise a few people and be more attacking in his set-up.
If he does then we could get more than one or two goals.
Drogba, The Worlds Best Striker V Vincent Kompany
Didier Drogba would get in any team in the world and on his day is unplayable for a defender.
If he were to be wearing the Sky Blue of City on Saturday I would say that City would definitely win.
But he is playing for Chelsea and as such he has to be stopped by a very mean defence.
City have only conceded a penalty and a self-inflicted Joe Hart blunder goal this season. They are going to be difficult to score against of that there is no doubt.
A pillar of that defence is Vincent Kompany and I suspect that if Drogba is anything but at his very,very best he will be frustrated by Kompany's style of play.
I would also add though that is Kompany falls for some of Drogbas more professional antics he may well see a red card and have an early bath.
But I expect Kompany, ably assisted by the City defence and midfield to keep Drogba off the score sheet.
Tevez V Terry
It is not yet clear if John Terry will play on Saturday, but if he does we are likely going to see him turned inside-out by Carlos Tevez.
Carlos is a nightmare for most defenders to play against as he is given a free role and turns up almost anywhere on the pitch.
For an ageing player like Terry its not even going to be a contest.
Terry is 2 seasons past his best and no longer has Carvalho by his side to take up the slack.
Last season of course Terry was the losing captain in both games, but he did raise the league trophy aloft so had the better season result.
It may well be the same again this year.
But John Terry will be made to look his age by a fully charged Carlitos.
The Battle of the Season?
The midfield players on display for this game are just phenomenal.
There is no other word for it.
But for me City have the edge and are likely to snuff out the Chelsea attack before it gets into the final third.
But who will match up against whom?
It is possible that Essien will have to take on DeJong which in itself is a mouth watering prospect.
But I have a sneaking suspicion that Yaya Toure will be the man to deal with Essien.
As good as Essien is the fact that Barry and De Jong will be dealing with the other part of the Cheslea midfield leaves Yaya free to take on Michael and there will only be one winner, Yaya.
If you watch the games where Essien dominates it is because of the way the opposition is strecthed adn pressured by the whole Chelsea midfield. He wont have that luxury against a dominat City midfield and so I expect Yaya to pressure, harass and generally out power Essien.
That's not said lightly and is not easy to do but too many EPL fans know too little about one of Barcas better players from the last 3 seasons.
Its Yaya for me.
Milner V Cole
Two players who know each other very well.
Two players whose characters could not be any different.
James Milner and Ashley Cole have been together in the England squad for years now. They have battled it out in the Premier League many times.
But for once Milner may well be doing more attacking than defending.
Milner can always be relied on to put in 100% effort, as can Cole. But Milner may see one enjoyable change on Saturday, a more defensive Ashley Cole than before.
With City likely to dominate the midfield and Terry struggling with the movement of Tevez it is probable that the Chelsea full-backs will be playing further back than in recent games.
If that happens, and I expect it will then Milner will enjoy the role reversal on Cole. He will push on and come in from the wing to great effect.
But this battle may well be decided by players elsewhere on the pitch so its a tough one to call.
Perhaps a noble stalemate?
The One That Made The Headlines Last Year
With Wayne Bridge injured we are not going to see a repeat of last years 'Hand Shake at High Noon' but there is still considerable bad blood between not only Terry and Bridge but Terry and some other England players in City's squad.
Lets not forget how well the England team has gelled since the World Cup and in Terry's absence.
There could well be a frisson of niggle in there yet.
Its a tough one to call as there are a number of unknowns for the team selection.
But as a loyal City fan I will have to go for City again with a narrow 2 - 1 win.
If City have all 11 players on the pitch for 90 minutes I think they will have too much at the back and in midfield for a Chelsea team perhaps a little older and complacent than they would be at their very best.