Build Up: Chelsea v Manchester City

Morning all. Just before I publish my match preview a little later today I wanted to focus on the build up to tomorrow lunchtimes game and C...

Morning all. Just before I publish my match preview a little later today I wanted to focus on the build up to tomorrow lunchtimes game and Chelsea's biggest test in the Premier League so far. With all City's spending (following the tried and trusted Chelsea model soon after Abramovich came to the club)they are without doubt on paper a force to be reckoned with. Chelsea however, are a different proposition for City and will also be their first real test of their credentials.

Come 3pm tomorrow afternoon we will all have more of an idea to the answers to those questions being asked long before a ball has been kicked!.

June 12, 2010 - 06026298 date 12 06 2010 Copyright imago Gribaudi ImagePhoto DB Rustenburg Sud Africa 12 06 2010 mondiali Sud Africa 2010 Inghilterra USA Photo Daniele Buffa Image Nella Photo Frank Lampard PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxITA men Football World Cup National team international match Rustenburg Portrait Vdig xsk 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd.

First things first and we are waiting for Carlo's Press Conference later today but it seems that Frank Lampard is OUT of tomorrow's game as he has suffered at setback in his recovery from his hernia op. If this is true this is a massive blow for Chelsea but, we have players more than capable of doing a job. Check out my linked post for reason's why. Even still its disappointing to be without Lampard but I would much rather have him ready for Arsenal at home next week. (Post your views on Lampard on the linked post from here).

Spurs Luka Modric battles ith City's Vincent Kompany FA Barclays Premiership. Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City. 14.08.10 Photo By Karl Winter Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

So let's now focus on both teams and the reports coming out of the press this week right up till this point (being Thursday 2200). Firstly to get it over with, let's focus on what City have been saying and reports coming out of Eastlands. First up is Vincent Kompany. He has spoken of City's chances this season and believes they WILL WIN the Premier League this season. He is quoted earlier in the week on The People's website saying:
“Money plays an important part in any team’s success. United and Chelsea, even Blackburn back in the early days, won the league only because they spent a lot of money. City are a bigger club than Chelsea and Blackburn so I can’t see why we shouldn’t be successful.

Who can say what a footballer is worth? Whether a player is worth £50million or nothing is down to what a club is prepared to pay. But money can’t help you once you go on to the ­training ground or into a stadium. I don’t know one player who has dollar signs or pound signs in his eyes when he is on the pitch.

When I was a kid I didn’t play football thinking about how much money I might earn. In that respect, ­nothing has changed. I wanted to be the best player I could be, to play for a top club and win trophies – and I will achieve that aim with City.

We just want to be the best we can. If you are not together as a team then you will never win anything. But I know there is a soul at Manchester City. We have kept five clean sheets in ­seven games this season and that is down to the work ­ethic, the spirit and the togetherness. And it is clear that the ­Premier League is now more competitive than it has ever been, so how can that be a bad thing for football?

Do you want to see Chelsea or United win the title every year?

The more negative things that are said about us, the more I see it a sign that ­people now respect us. People want us to fail, so what? We are in the elite now. I don’t feel any ­bitterness or anger towards these people because they are not important. We want to be the best we can and once we start ­winning trophies, this obsession ­people have with the money we earn will stop.

When I joined the club I was excited by the plans the owners had for the club. If anything, we have progressed faster than I thought we would. We have a lot of new ­players and they have fitted in well but, in four or five months, this team will have improved beyond recognition.

The owners aren’t just investing in the team, they are investing in the whole club, the training facilities, the ­stadium, the fans and the city of Manchester itself. They know how ­important City are to the people of Manchester and there is much more going on at the club than just creating a team.

It is about making something special for the people of the city and if we get criticised for that then I can only say that the people who want to be negative are ignorant.”

I don’t think we have got what we have ­deserved from our ­performances this season. Sometimes football can come down to getting a little bit of luck at the right time and against Sunderland and Blackburn the results didn’t match the performances.”

Now the most die-hard City fans will know deep down that they still need time to gel as a side and the title is beyond them this season. Chelsea fans will read the comments from Kompany as though they have taken a step back in time to Abramovich's first season!.

Kolo Toure Manchester City 2010/11 Paul Robinson Blackburn Rovers Manchester City V Blackburn Rovers (1-1) 11/09/10 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Now to another from City before the game and that is Kolo Toure. The ex-gooner left Arsenal for one reason or another and is one of the mainstays in their side. He has also spoken of the game against us and said:
"We were delighted to beat them twice last season and we hope to do it again, It's going to be a really exciting game. We need to make sure we take something from it. If we can get one point that would be great, but if we can get all three like we did twice last season, that would be fantastic.

The manager wants us to work really hard on defending every day in training because when you defend well, it gives you the chance to win games. We don't concede many goals because we are really tight as a unit and work really hard for each other. We hope we can keep going like this.

What we will have to do is defend as a team, like we have been doing, and stay really focused. Then, when we can, we'll have to be really aggressive with them."
(Source: Skysports)
The thing is for anyone facing Chelsea right now, you need to be at your game for the full 90 minutes. Toure and the rest of their defence will be aware of our threat to their goal from all over the pitch.

Chelsea's Didier Drogba celebrates after scoring his hat-trick during their English Premier League soccer match against West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge in London August 14, 2010. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)

Toure has also spoken of one person in particular he see's as the main threat to their defence on Saturday and that's Didier Drogba. He said:
"All he thinks about is scoring goals, But this season he is passing well and making a lot of assists, too. That makes him a much better player. It seems as though he is getting better with age, because he is so intelligent. He has had to change his game, and he knows he needs more help from his team-mates now.

He used to like to do a lot himself but now he shows he cares about the team and that is really good. I know his game well but it is still difficult. He is so powerful. He is on fire at the moment, playing so well, and he seems to have improved his style of playing. We are going to have to defend really well as a team to stop him."
(Source: The Telegraph)
Like I said on this one, it's not just Drogba they need to watch out for!. City of course have their attacking threat of their own and I will focus more on that in my Match Preview later today rather than talk about it now.

Finally in relation to City a late update from Shawn Wright-Phillips. The Ex-Chelsea man is quoted in The Sun today stating that he keeps in contact with the players he played alongside at Chelsea and they are sitting up and taking notice of his City side now. He said:
"I stay in touch with everyone at Chelsea, all the lads I played with anyway. They know that last year we had them on the back foot so they are really starting to take a lot of notice of City. We beat them twice last year. They will be on red alert about us and will try to make sure they are more prepared this time around.

Last season, we just all went out there as a team and believed we could do it and just went for it rather than waiting for them to come at us. We will go out trying to do the same thing to them again on Saturday.

We have the players and the potential to do all those things but I just don't think it's something that happens overnight. It's taken them four or five years to get in the position where they are strongly challenging for the title every year. We need time to achieve those goals. We have that potential here and it's just a matter of gelling and playing well. When we do gel we are going to become a formidable force, definitely.

I've been very impressed, especially with Michael Essien and the way Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda have been playing. Their form has got back to the way it was when I first got there. They are doing really well.

But coming here is a massive game for them as well as us. Although they're in a great run of form, hopefully we can go out there and make it as difficult as possible."
If anyone at City knows what it's like to build a title winning mentality and side to match its SWP. He was always unlucky at Chelsea in a time when he wasn't really valued enough in my view by Jose. Without question, he will be up for Saturday.

Chelsea's Florent Malouda celebrates after scoring against Blackpool during their English Premier League soccer match at Stamford Bridge in London September 19, 2010. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)

Now to reports coming out of Stamford Bridge. First we have Florent Malouda and he has spoken ahead of tomorrow's crunch game for both teams. He said:
"Everyone talks about the City game because they do not give us credit for what we have done so far this season, Lots of people see these two games as a test and we are ready. It could be an opportunity for us to prove we are the champions and that we are prepared for any kind of opposition. There'll be a lot of pressure, but we have to use our experience and stay calm. Our only objective is to get points.

They [City] are getting better and have bought some top-quality players, Last year's games against City were difficult for us and that could be an extra motivation for us. It will be a tactical game. Knowing their manager [Roberto Mancini], they have probably seen our games and seen that we can go away and pick up points. Their players will also see this as a chance to show they are ready to fight for the title. But we will defend our title at any price.

At the end of the season I'm sure [Didier] Drogba will be far in front of me, I can compete but not for a very long time. It's a pleasure for me [to be part of the team] and I just want to enjoy that. Playing in a team that is winning games and scoring goals is what we train hard for and that is what we must keep doing."
(Source: The Guardian)

It's important to remember last season Chelsea fans. We were deservedly beaten in both games with the latter being overshadowed by the JT/Bridge saga. The difference for me on that day was Craig Bellamy's pace and since the 4-1 defeat Bellamy is no longer there. City have spent big money on alot of players who wouldn't have experienced a massive game as Saturday will be as a team together and City fans need to remember that.

Chelsea are a strong collective unit and with Benayoun out injured and Essien back in our midfield I promise you it will be two totally different games to the ones we all watched last season.

Stamford Bridge, Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion, Premier League 14/08/2010  Florent Malouda of Chelsea celebrates scoring the 1st goal with John Obi Mikel, Nicolas Anelka & Ashley Cole of Chelsea Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Now to more from Chelsea and we turn our attention to John Obi Mikel. He has warned opposition defences that "they will have a job" to contain Chelsea's attack and the warning needs to be taken seriously by City. He said:
"If I was a defender playing against Chelsea, I would be very scared because you don't know where we're going to come from - we have Ashley Cole bombing forward on the left side all the time, So it is hard to know what to expect when we have all these players bombing forward all the time.

If you look at our front three, none of them have a static position, they are all moving around. It is the same with the midfield although I tend to stay a little bit more because I cannot afford to leave that position.

Playing that way helps us a lot while the other team is thinking about whether to follow Nicolas Anelka's runs, Frank Lampard or Michael Essien."
(Source: Skysports)
Mikel has for me anyway, pointed out the difference to Carlo's Chelsea compared to Jose's Chelsea. I wrote and article for CFCNet on Carlo's 4-3-3 and I am pleased to say that Mikel has confirmed my thoughts on our formation. City and anyone we face need to deal with our movement. This will play a big part deciding the outcome tomorrow.

No matter what happens, you have to admit at 1245 tomorrow pulses will be racing as Chelsea take on City. I personally can't wait!

Make sure you look out later today for my match preview.

Carefree & KTBFFH everyone!

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