Manchester City vs. Chelsea: 5 Things to Watch for
On Wednesday, Manchester City and Chelsea will square off in a match determining both clubs' fate for the rest of the season.
Manchester City looks to keep pace at the top of the table with Manchester United while Chelsea hopes to continue their stellar form and earn a spot in the top four.
Here are five things to watch for as the match approaches...
Will Torres Capitalize on His Recent Performance?
Striker Fernando Torres finally ended his 26 game scoring drought this past weekend—in impressive fashion.
The £50 million-man netted a brace in a 5-2 victory over Leicester City in the FA Cup sixth-round fixture.
Torres not only looked incredibly dangerous throughout the match but the Spaniard conjured up memories of his sublime form from a few years ago at Liverpool.
He constantly put himself in threatening positions out on the pitch. In addition, Torres set up his teammates for goal scoring chances—collecting two assists in the process.
Should acting manager Roberto Di Matteo opt to start Torres, it will be fascinating whether he can expand upon his recent impressive showing.
For Chelsea, an in-form Torres would be a welcomed sight.
He would inject some life into the squad and take pressure off fellow strikers Didier Drogba and Daniel Sturridge.
Will Manchester City Rid Themselves of Poor Form?
Manchester City is currently in a run of poor form.
Not only did City lose recently to Swansea City in EPL action, but "The Sky Blues" failed to advance in Europa League play—they were bounced out by Sporting Lisbon in a two-leg series.
The Eastlands club desperately needs a positive result against Chelsea. If anything, the victory would provide a big morale boost heading into the stretch run of the season.
With City however, distractions are plentiful.
Looking for a possible spark, manager Roberto Mancini is playing with the idea of bringing maligned striker Carlos Tevez back into the fold.
This situation is volatile and risky.
It is peculiar from the standpoint that Tevez can't be in the best of shape. It's also not as if the side is short on attacking options.
Despite that, Mancini seemingly wants Tevez. There's also a member of the team clamoring for the return of the striker.
A Key Matchup: Chelsea's Backline vs. Man City's Attacking Core
Let's be honest: Manchester City has an embarrassment of riches in regards to attack-minded individuals.
It's truly scary to look at the collection of offensively-inclined talents that City employs on a gamely basis.
Not only does the club have world-class talents such as Sergio Aguero and David Silva, but they also employ Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli, Samir Nasri and the aforementioned Tevez.
There's simply not a density of quality to this magnitude seen anywhere in the world outside of possibly Barcelona and Real Madrid.
For Chelsea to have success, it will be paramount that the backline performs succinctly and cohesively.
Captain John Terry will provide a settling presence in the back, but it's key that Gary Cahill play well. The former-Bolton man's career at Chelsea started out a bit shaky. However, he seems to have gotten comfortable and has been playing well of late.
In addition, if David Luiz plays, he cannot make costly flubs that will hinder Chelsea's effort defensively. Too many times the Brazilian makes lackadaisical mistakes.
Nasri and Silva simply cannot have time on the ball. If they do, they'll carve Chelsea up with their clever touch and deft passing ability. It's also imperative that the club closes down on Aguero.
If the diminutive Argentine is able to roam and find threatening pockets of space amidst the defense, Chelsea will be in trouble.
Will Chelsea Continue Their Good Form?
Indifferent from City, Chelsea is on a run of great form lately.
What has contributed to their recent string of victories?
Well, the obvious choice would be the firing of Andre Villas-Boas. Since AVB's departure, the club has won four games in a row under new caretaker Di Matteo.
The most thrilling result from Chelsea of late was their stunning comeback in the second leg against Napoli.
Not only did they come back from a massive aggregate deficit, but they stamped a spot into the quarterfinals of Champions League play.
Chelsea hopes to parlay some of this recent momentum into a positive showing against City.
A Thrilling Affair Will Take Place
Much is on the line for both clubs in this midweek tilt.
For Manchester City, a victory would aid greatly in keeping pace with table leader Manchester United. Currently, City is four points back. A loss here would severely diminish the prospects of them winning the league.
In regards to Chelsea, cementing a Champions League bid for next year is their main prerogative. Chelsea currently sits fifth in the table—only three points back of Arsenal and one spot out of CL.
An aesthetic display of creativity and flair should be on display in full force.
I believe it will be a very hotly contested match, notably due to the mass amount of importance this game holds for both teams.
Also, the subplot of a possible Tevez inclusion only adds to the allure and appeal of the upcoming fixture.