Manchester City - Chelsea Preview: An untimely Premier League clash

Chelsea take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in an early-season blockbuster this Sunday. The two most recent Premier League titl...

Chelsea take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in an early-season blockbuster this Sunday. The two most recent Premier League title winners couldn’t be more contrasting in regard to their respective starts to the new campaign.

If being held to a home draw by Swansea City on the opening weekend wasn’t frustrating enough, the feud between Jose Mourinho and club doctor Eva Carneiro and physiotherapist Jon Fearn has been a hot topic since referee Michael Oliver blew the final whistle at Stamford Bridge eight days ago.

The Portuguese boss has declared the pair won’t be present on the Chelsea bench for the clash with City but may return to their regular positions in the near future.

Conversely, Manuel Pellegrini and the Citizens have enjoyed a convincing start to the Premier League season with a 3-0 thumping of West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns last Monday.

Although form suggests the home side is the favourite, City last got the better of the Blues back in February 2014 with a 2-0 FA Cup. It’s also worth noting our hosts have also failed to take three league points from us in more than two years.

Manchester City Form

(W) West Bromwich Albion 0-3 Manchester City (Premier League, August 2015)
(L) VfB Stuttgart 4-2 Manchester City (Friendly, August 2015)
(W) Vietnam National Team 1-8 Manchester City (Friendly, July 2015)
(L) Manchester City 1-4 Real Madrid (International Champions Cup, July 2015)
(W) Manchester City* 2-2 AS Roma (International Champions Cup, July 2015)

Chelsea Form

(D) Chelsea 2-2 Swansea City (Premier League, August 2015)
(L) Chelsea 0-1 Fiorentina (Friendly, August 2015)
(L) Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea (Charity Shield, August 2015)
(W) Chelsea *2-2 Barcelona (International Champions Cup, July 2015)
(W) Paris Saint-Germain 1-1* Chelsea (International Champions Cup, July 2015)

Last Five Meetings

Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City (Premier League, January 2015)
Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea (Premier League, September 2014)
Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea (FA Cup, February 2014)
Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea (Premier League, February 2014)
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City (Premier League, October 2013)

Manchester City Team News

Sergio Agüero is in the running to make the starting lineup after struggling to regain match fitness following a busy summer with Argentina.

Gael Clichy will be put through his paces prior to kick-off while midfielders Fabian Delph and Fernando are certain to miss the clash.

Chelsea Team News

Thibaut Courtois is serving the first of his three-match ban after he was sent off during our opening fixture against Swansea City.

Asmir Begovic will likely step in to take his place and make his full Chelsea debut.

Oscar is a doubt after suffering what Mourinho has described as a “little injury” in training during the week.

Probable Lineups

Score Prediction

Jose Mourinho knows how to set up for the big games. Perhaps to the detriment of his entertainment value in the eyes of non-Chelsea fans, he’s proved time and time again the result is all that matters in crunch fixtures like this.

I imagine he’ll instruct his men to create opportunities by trying to catch City on the break, especially considering how dangerous Diego Costa looked running at top speed against Swansea.

I get nervous watching us sit back and absorb pressure, particularly against a side with David Silva, Yaya Toure and co. pulling the strings. But I’m also aware we’ve got the right players to force teams on the back foot via a balanced counter-attacking strategy. We will create chances; the telling factor, as always, will be if we can take them.

Mourinho will be looking for a 1-0 smash and grab, but it’s very likely City will score at home. It won’t be pretty, but I think we’ll escape with a 1-1. What are your score predictions?

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