Robert Toole & Robert Pollard
Chelsea versus Manchester City, Sunday 25th November, 4pm, Stamford Bridge, London.
Tickets: Sold Out
Last Season: Chelsea 2-1 City
Referee: Chris Foy
Chelsea – Fernando Torres could return to the starting line up under new boss Rafa Benitez after coming on as a substitute against Juventus. John Terry is set to miss out again with a knee injury, while Frank Lampard remains a doubt.
City – Vincent Kompany is a doubt but Roberto Mancini is hopeful that he will recover in time from a knee problem. Gael Clichy (ankle) is available and Mario Balotelli may return following his recovery from a back problem.
Only four players have recorded more than five assists so far in the Premier League season, and two of them are based at Stamford Bridge. Eden Hazard leads the way with nine while his Spanish teammate Juan Mata is close behind on six. It’s no wonder as both are in the top ten for passes completed in the opposition half, with Hazard ranked fifth after completing 379 passes in enemy territory and Mata ninth with 351
Mata’s deadly range of passing is also evident in that he is 8th in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for crosses delivered with 30. Steven Gerrard and Leighton Baines are the only top other players to appear in the top ten for both passes and crosses.
Juan Mata and Fernando Torres are Chelsea’s joint top scorers this season with four goals a piece. Torres has had 19 efforts at goal for his four goals, with 74% on target, while Mata has had 21 with 62% on target.
Based purely on the last four rounds of fixtures, Chelsea would be nineteenth with just two points from a possible twelve- a defeat against the champions on Sunday would be a severe blow to the Blues’ title chances, leaving them seven points adrift.
Statistically, City have been the league’s outstanding passing side. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index will frighten Chelsea, as it shows two of the top ten passers in the league are City players Yaya Toure, who is top having completed 536 passes in the opposition half, and Samir Nasri who is 8th with 361 passes
City also have a wealth of talent in the area that Chelsea so sorely need – the lethal goal scoring striker. Tevez and Dzeko each have six goals to their name this season while Aguero has 5, all in the league’s top 12 goal scorers. City’s goal scorers talent lies in their ruthlessness in converting the chances that come to them. Dzeko has needed just 23 shots at goal for his six goals, 3.8 shots per goal, and Aguero 24 shots for 5 goals, averaging 4.8 shots per goal.
All three also boast shooting accuracy percentages of more than 50%, with Dzeko on 60.8%, Aguero 62.5% and Tevez 60%.
City have only won once against teams managed by Rafa Benitez in the Premier League (P12, W1, D5, L6, GF7, GA12)
Ahead of the game, Roberto Mancini reflected on City’s elimination from the Champions League and also expressed his condolences for Roberto Di Matteo. He said:
I am very sorry for Di Matteo because he won the Champions League three or four months ago but this is our lives, once we choose it we know sometimes it is difficult but this is a managers life.
I think usually when one team change their manager the game after is very difficult for the opposition. For us, this game will be more difficult. I think Chelsea are one of the best teams in England and in Europe and they’ve won everything in the last ten years and to play against Chelsea is always a good game.
Watch the full press conference in the video below:
As for Chelsea, new manager, Rafa Benitez, was in a defiant mood ahead of the game feeling he and his squad have the credentials to be successful. He said:
I have more desire to win trophies now than before. I analysed the squad. Can they win trophies? Yes. How many trophies can they win? We have five opportunities. OK. Carry on.
It is very simple. Winning games is a guarantee for everything.If you do it in a row, you can win trophies. I’m really happy to be here in the Premier League with a chance to win trophies. Perfect
Inside the Opposition
All matches kick-off at 3pm unless otherwise stated.
Sunderland v West Brom (12.45)
Everton v Norwich
Manchester United v QPR
Stoke v Fulham
Wigan v Reading
Aston Villa v Arsenal (5.30pm)
Swansea v Liverpool (1.30pm)
Southampton v Newcastle
Chelsea v Manchester City (4pm)
Tottenham v West Ham (4pm)