Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday February 26 2010
Saturday, 27 February 2010
City head to Laandaarn Taarn in desperate need of a good result. Can Mancio rally his squad for the daunting challenge at Chelsea..?
'We must focus on the Chelsea match because if we want to finish in the top four we must pick up as many points as we can.'
"John Terry is professional and doesn't have a problem concentrating on the match. He has been putting in good performances. He is in focus and has a good mentality. He has had a fantastic season and will do the same until the end of the season."
'What can you say? We're knocked out of the cup and we have to move on. It is a big club, obviously, and there is huge expectation at the club now, but we have to just try and take a deep breath and try and finish the season on a high. We are very much in contention for fourth spot and we've got to focus on that. Hopefully we can do that and then reassess things in the summer.'
'It's a big game for both clubs and it's a measure of our progress that we are considered one of the few clubs who can go to Stamford Bridge and be a danger to Chelsea, so why not go there and take our chance?'
'City are only under as much pressure as we are. We're used to that pressure. I don't think previous results will have too much bearing and I think the game will be huge in itself. We want to win it, and I'm sure they are going to want to win it to get over one or two disappointing results.'
VMC Video Link: Mancio Chelsea Press Conference
Scans show Petr Cech suffered a tear in a calf muscle during the second half of Chelsea's midweek defeat at Inter. He will be out for three to four weeks so in comes Hilario.
Bosingwa, Deco & Essien should all be out with knee knack alongside the publicity craving Ashley Cole and his ankle.
Lampard's role is always crucial in making Chelsea's machine march on and it's in midfield where City must impose themselves on Saturday.
De Jong, Barry and Kompany are all likely to be tasked with nullifying the England man's threat, just as Steven Gerrard was cancelled out last weekend at Eastlands.
A surely wiped out Carlos Tevez is resting in London but will lead the City forward line.
The brilliant Adam Johnson also comes back into the reckoning after being cup tied at Stoke.
Emmanuel Adebayor has been suspended for four games after being sent off in Wednesday's FA Cup defeat. He joins the already banned Patrick Vieira in the stands.
For all the celebrity scandal obsessives and bin rifling hacks, Wayne Bridge will line up against The King of The Chavs, John Terry.
Crocky Santa Cruz is struggling yet again after his pointless appearance as a substitute at Stoke and is doubtful alongside hapless skipper Kolo Toure. Both have knee problems.
Michael Johnson and Rigsby Petrov are The Blues only long term absentees.
City (from): Given, Taylor, Richards, Zabaleta, Onuoha, Toure, Lescott, Boyata, Garrido, Sylvinho, Bridge, Johnson, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Barry, De Jong, Ibrahim, Tevez, Bellamy, Santa Cruz.
Currently in London and in a hotel bed post Heathrow landing following a grueling family ordeal over his tiny baby daughter who was born 10 weeks prematurely in Argentina.
Surely it's too much to ask that the jet lagged dynamo can turn a game in City's favour so soon, but he has defied expectations all season.
19 goals in 27 City starts underline just how much The Citizens have missed him.
City's modern day record at Stamford Bridge makes for painful reading:
Lost: 8, Drawn: 3 Goals For: 2 Goals Against: 24.
It is 17 years since City last won at Chelsea.
City have not scored at Chelsea in 10.5 hours of football. Good grief.
During 5 seasons at Inter Milan, Mancini faced AC Milan's Ancelotti with the following league record:
Won: 4, Lost:3, Drawn: 1
Chelsea have taken 37 points from a possible 39 at home in this campaign.
Mancio now has 4 City defeats in 15 games to his name. Mark Hughes suffered 2 in 21 fixtures this season.
City have won 1 of the last 11 league games away from Eastlands.
Follow the action and debate Live in the VMC Match Day Forum!: MATCHDAY THREAD: Chelsea vs Man City - Sat Feb 27 - KO: 12:45 UK Time
M L Dean, Wirral Mr. Dean takes charge of his fifth City game this season, and his fourth with Chelsea. He reffed City in wins over Blackburn and the rags (2-1 in the League Cup) plus draws at Villa and Birmingham. Steady yellow flourisher but reserved red card merchant. We are due a better refereeing standard than of late.Current season record: Games:29, Yellow Cards:102 Red Cards:4
City desperately need points, 24 short of the 70 points season target with 12 games to go. Hand on Blue heart I do not expect us to get anything at Stamford Bridge. The odds and of course the stats above are piled against us. Despite obvious improvement in the first 30 mins of the FA Cup defeat at Stoke, I saw enough to suggest that our side is lacking the backbone, resilience, will to fight back and not be defeated that we saw from this squad last autumn. In midfield we are crucially lacking control and leadership. A vital area that must be won against Chelsea. If City put in the same poor tempo, lack of urgency and faiure to create consistent chances that we have seen recently against Portsmouth, Stoke, Bolton and Hull, we'll be put to the sword. Johnny On The Spot: Chelsea 2 CITY 0
A: Sunderland, Sun 14 Mar 16h00 GMT
A: Fulham, Sat 20 Mar 15h00 GMT
H: Wigan, Mon 29 Mar 20h00 GMT
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Date:Friday February 26 2010
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