Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Saturday March 25 2006
City travel to the home of the champions looking for an excercise in damage limitation. Given that our record on the road this year is pretty close to abysmal, the last thing that was needed when we have ten first teamers missing is a trip to Chelsea.
The champions have been in poor form, by their high standards, themselves of late and only last week lost at close neighbours Fulham. They did bounce back on Wednesday however with a 1-0 defeat of Newcastle that saw them progress into the FA Cup semis, something City failed to do themselves on Monday night.
Last season saw City take four points from Chelsea, which included a 0-0 draw at the Bridge. Anything close to that result today would be a magnificent achievement considering the circumstances.
Stuart Pearce suggests that the injury crisis is taking its toll on the club at the moment.
'The injuries have tended to come in cycles this season.
But we do not have a big enough squad to cope with the numbers we are losing at the moment.'
Chelsea have Gallas and Robben suspended but otherwise have a full squad to choose from. Wright-Phillips will be looking for a game against his old club.
Not quite the Frank Lampard of last season but Chelsea missed him at Eastlands back in December.
Where do you start? How City line up will be anyone's guess with so many first teamers absent. There has been talk of David Sommeil moving into midfield alongside Masumpa but their are so many gaps to fill any of the reserves could get a game. Bradley Wright-Phillips will probably have to start up front again which will be a shame because the lad is clearly low on confidence and looking anything but a Premiership striker. I would like to see Miller given a start but that may be to brave a call for the management.
I really don't think any individual will hurt Chelsea. It will take a collective team performance to get anything at all.
City took 4 points off Chelsea last season and were the only team to beat them in the league. This time around Chelsea managed to nick a late 1-0 victory at Eastlands over the Christmas period. Up until last season City always struggled against Chelsea with 1993 being the last time the blues won at the Bridge, 4-2.
Rob Styles .... Watch for a flurry of cards. Hopefully Chelsea fail to control their players again.
I can't see anything in this for City. The squad is so lightweight that a 2-0 defeat would perhaps be seen as a good result. The team will need to buckle down to get anything at all but I still think Chelsea will have to much. Much as it pains me to say it, I see a heavy defeat in the capital.
Boro (h) Sun 2nd April
Date:Saturday March 25 2006
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