Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday December 4 2009
The City of Manchester Stadium
Saturday 5th December 2009
Eastlands' second full house in 4 days is sure to be rocking for the toughest test of the campaign so far live on ESPN. Chelsea's power needs no introduction and City must match it
VMC City Video Link: Mark Hughes pre-Chelsea presser
"...they have a very good squad. The problem is that Manchester City changed a lot of players in the close season, so they have a new team. It's necessary to have time to put a team out on the pitch. You need time to do this properly. The work of Mark Hughes in the last month was not easy because, when you change a lot of players, it's not easy to find the right way immediately."
'What we have to do now is let the fans talk and banter about the League Cup semi-final and the derby matches and concentrate on the league. Christmas is coming and there are a lot of points to play for and we want as many of them as we can get. We have also got an FA Cup tie before then.'
'It's still too early to say that it's a two-horse race. I honestly think Liverpool can get back into it because we haven't played enough games to rule them out. Arsenal have always had lots of quality, but they're a lot more consistent this season, while Manchester City and Tottenham are stronger as well.'
"We can play as well as we did against Arsenal. We will be ready for them."
Martin Petrov has come through a weeks training and is fit to play. Craig Bellamy is doubtful and Gareth Barry's ongoing groin troubles should not stop him from making the kick off. Nigel De Jong is likely to return at the expense of Stephen Ireland who is also doubtful through injury. Vlad Weiss has tonsilitis.
Big games need big players. When half chances come their way, strikers must take them in clashes of this importance and Adebayor was brought to Manchester City to do just that. A City success against Chelsea will only come about with a full on team effort and the squad will be looking to Ade to lead the fight with panache.
Ashley Cole returns but Salomon Kalou sustained a thigh injury in Chelsea's League Cup defeat at Blackburn and will be out for a fortnight. Jose Bosingwa is a long term knee casualty but other than these two players, Chelsea will be at full strength. Daniel Sturridge also has a knee injury and will again not make a Chelsea start.
The former City favourite turned wantaway sulk has matured tremendously in the past few years and is nearing the peak of his powers at club and country levels. He lurks along the defensive line menacingly and his stealth bomber runs must be well marshalled. There is no margin for error in City's defence this weekend.
Chelsea have not conceded a league goal in 8 hours and 8 minutes of football.
City's modern era league record against Chelsea is absymal. Since the 1994-1995 season City have lost 17 out of 20 games.
In the last 14 league meetings, City have scored 2 goals and Chelsea 29.
This game will be something of a bizarre old boys reunion. Mark Hughes, Eddie Niedzwiecki, Kevin Hitchcock, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge, Nicolas Anelka and Daniel 'The Bench' Sturridge are all former (and current) team mates to differing degrees.
VMC Forum Link:Manchester City vs Chelsea: Saturday December 5th KO. 17:30 UK Time - Match Day Thread
H Webb, Yorkshire Mr. Webb, elite Premier League and European Cup ref takes charge of his second City game of the season following our win at Pompey. Yet to send a player off this season and has a sensible card flourishing record in this campaign to date. Current season record: Games:11,Yellow Cards:30,Red Cards:0
Too close to call, as long as City keep it tight in central midfield and across the back line. Chelsea, though a thoroughly fine side are not invincible on their travels as defeats at Wigan, Villa and a narrow escape at Stoke have shown. Can we beat them? City are well enough equipped. YES WE CAN. Johnny On The Spot: City 1, Chelsea 0
A: Bolton, Sat 12 Dec 15h00 GMT
A: Spurs, Wed 16 Dec 20h00 GMT
H: Sunderland, Sat 19 Dec 15h00 GMT
H: Stoke, Sat 26 Dec 15h00 GMT
A: Wolves, Mon 28 Dec 19h45 GMT
2 Jan FA Cup R3 To be drawn
H: the rags, LCSF, Wed 6 Jan 19h45 GMT
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Date:Friday December 4 2009
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