Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Saturday April 5 2008
City of Manchester Stadium
5th April 2008
City are still mathematically in the hunt for that sixth place finish, but with the form shown since new year apart from two matches; you know what they say, a fool and his money are easily parted. Chelsea on the other hand apart from a blip in the champions league on Wednesday are in fine form and with the possibility of returning players against us, they are a formidable opposition. The result at Stamford Bridge went a long way to show that when they completely out played us and everything they seemed to hit went into the back of the net. Chelsea still have a good chance at claiming their third title in four seasons as well because Middlesbrough always play well against United and the gap might only be three points come Sunday 6pm, and so they have a great incentive.
Sven talks about the reaction to the horror show at Birmingham last week: The players have been training very hard and very well this week. None of us, players or coaches, were happy with what happened last Saturday. We watched the video on Monday and no-one liked what they saw.
"But this is a great chance to show what we can do, because we are meeting one of the best sides in Europe or even the world. I can`t tell you what the result will be, but I can tell you that the performance will be different."
He then talks about the away defeat at the bridge: 'Revenge might be the word to use. That was a very bad performance, maybe our worst this season. The only good thing was that three minutes should have been added on at the end, and the referee only played on for 30 seconds! The approach to that game, even from my side, was wrong and this will be different."
He then goes on to talk about Chelsea's position and their feelings and a possible European hangover: "Normally this might be a good chance to meet a team, but with Chelsea they have such a big squad and they could change five or six players. Quality-wise, they will be no different and that`s what happens with a club like Chelsea. They should never have lost that game, especially after the way they played in the first half.
"Chelsea are a side that like to play football and they are physically strong, but this is a real chance for us to show what we can do."
City look likely to be able to call on the services of Martin Petrov and Michael Johnson for the visit of Avram Grant's men.
Bulgarian winger Petrov was ruled out of last week's 3-1 defeat at Birmingham with flu, while Johnson missed the trip to St Andrews with a groin injury.
Despite having the midfield duo back in contention, Eriksson will definitely be without defensive pair Michael Ball and Micah Richards who both continue to be sidelined with knee problems as well as long term absentee Valeri Bojinov.
After last weeks debacle Martin will be keen to show the City faithful that he could have been the one to make the difference in getting in behind the Birmingham defence.
Chelsea remain hopeful that Petr Cech will be back in action against City after finally shaking off an ankle knock.
The keeper did not travel to Istanbul for the 2-1 UEFA Champions League defeat in midweek, but is back in training and back in Grant's plans.
Frank Lampard came through Wednesday's trip to Turkey unscathed and is expected to retain his place in the heart of the Blues' midfield, while Saturday will also see former City favourites Nicolas Anelka and Shaun Wright-Phillips back in familiar surroundings.
Nico is a very dangerous player with many qualities and even for Les Blues ten days ago I applauded him off in Paris as he ran the England defence ragged. Nico also has an unerring nack of scoring against his former clubs.
Prior to the premier league inception City had quite a good record against Chelsea, but since that day in in August 1992 when it all started City have hardly troubled Chelsea apart from the 2004/5 season where we took four points from them; just like they call Tottenham the three point lane they may as well call City the three point stadium unfortunately. City were that naive at the bridge they even let Kalou and Shevchenko score.
Chris Foy - quite a good referee for City; this is his second game for both City and Chelsea. Chelsea won both of theirs; City won one and lost one with only Hamann being booked in the away defeat at Arsenal.
Chelsea again to do the double over City with Lampard and Drogba scoring. City 0 - 2 Chelsea.
Away to Sunderland next Saturday the 12th with a 3pm kick off.
Date:Saturday April 5 2008
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