Date:Friday December 4 2009
Having overcome their draw hoodoo against Arsenal in the Carling Cup, City can now look forward to their hardest game of the season so far.
The fact that it is against the best team in Europe at the moment makes it all the more enticing as it is Chelsea heading to Eastlands this weekend.
Another test to see where City are in their 'project' and another chance to take advantage of 'that' game in hand that they have so far failed to convert into three points.
After seven consecutive draws Manchester's only Premier League representatives could be forgiven for having a dip in confidence, but Mark Hughes, Steven Ireland and a host of other players have all spoken about one word- frustration.
The frustration of not being able to hold onto a lead regardless of how many goals ahead we've been. The frustration of not converting the draws into wins to be sitting comfortably with Chelsea at the top of the league.
The frustration of being the only team in the Premier League to have been beaten only once all season and that defeat was hardly down to lack of quality.
In fact without a pocketed referee, a magic stopwatch and a culture of protecting certain teams, City would still be unbeaten.
But if the Blues think that they have been frustrated so far this season, they should be ready to experience a new level come Saturday.
For then comes as sterner a test of their credentials that has been seen in a world class team, with a world class manager, with a world class system perfected for the Premier League.
Chelsea are the most organised team in the league, with the most powerful and talented squad player for player in the world. So let`s not have any illusions about the task that awaits Mark Hughes' men.
This is the team that outplayed Barcelona in the Champions League Semi Finals last year, but were robbed in the end.
If City go out and play to the crowd using their normal attack-minded home tactics, then they will be beaten just like Arsenal last weekend.
So Hughes will be looking to the pressure game that paid dividends against Arsenal and look to emulate the hard work and discipline of teams like Wigan and Reading who have shocked Chelsea this season.
City will have to be patient, disciplined, hold their shape and focus defensively front to back from the first minute to the last. Then to win the game they will have to find a way of scoring against an impressive Chelsea defence.
Emmanuel Adebayor will be the key player for City as he must do everything right tomorrow. Defend from the front, play with passion, hold the ball up and take his chances too.
What tactics Hughes will employ will show his character as a manager tomorrow as the safety first approach is one that might not in him many admirers. Hughes has been criticised for the tactical side of his game, especially with his choice of substitutes and lack of plan B to change a game.
All will be revealed tomorrow and if we can pull out a victory, it will be on par with the one in midweek if not better. Something tells me that most Blues would settle for an eighth successive draw though.
One thing`s for sure, Arsenal, United, Tottenham and Liverpool will all be hoping that the Sky Blues can claw back some of that massive lead that Chelsea have so imperiously forged to put them head and shoulders above the rest.
If they aren't then it shows that they have given up on the title race already and see City as a more dangerous threat to their Premier League hopes this season.
Date:Friday December 4 2009
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|2. Man City||38||23||9||6||+32||78|
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