Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Wednesday December 28 2005
City of Manchester Stadium
Chelsea return to the scene of last season's only league defeat looking to put an end to what appears to be their only failing, namely an inability to win games and score goals against City.
Speaking of Chelsea's £21 million summer signing from City, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stuart Pearce insists he would welcome the player back with open arms should he ever wish to return to Eastlands.
'It would be nice - he's a fantastic lad, a fantastic pro, you know what you're going to get, day in day out. We'd certainly love him to walk back through the door.'
After Mondays defensive horror show expect Richard Dunne to return in the centre of defence, probably in place of Onouha. Andrew Cole should return to the starting line up, maybe at the expense of Sun Jihai with Sibierski moving back into midfield. I expect Sibierski to start ahead of Sun so he can play a similar role to the one he played at Stamford Bridge in last seasons 0-0, namely to nulify the threat of Makelele.
Will need to continue his fine form of late to compete with a strong Chelsea midfield.
Essien is out. Shauny Wright will be looking for a start against his old club but may have to settle for a place on the bench.
Simply the best midfielder in the Premiership.
City were the only team to beat Chelsea in the Premiership last season with a 1-0 win in the corresponding fixture. They also managed to nulify the Chelsea attack in the reverse fixture, coming away from Stamford Bridge with a creditable 0-0 draw. Chelsea currently lead the table by nine points, City dropped to eighth after the 4-3 defeat atWigan.
Uriah Rennie - Not the best in the League, so anything could happen.
Much as I would love to predict a similar score to last season I just can't see it. Chelsea have yet to hit the heights of last season but are still comfortably leading the table. A crumb of comfort can be taken from the fact Fulham put 2 past them on Monday but we'll need to be somewhere near our best just to score. The defence cannot possibly play as bad as on Monday but I still see Chelsea scoring. Make no mistake, last season's defeat will ranckle with Mourinho and as such I take Chelsea to win 2-1. I hope I'm wrong.
31/12/05 - Middlesboro (a)
Date:Wednesday December 28 2005
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