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Manchester City vs. Chelsea

City of Manchester Stadium

14/03/2007

8pm

On Sky

MCFC V Chelsea

Just when you think things can't get any worse along come the champions.

City entertain Chelsea tonight desperate for the three points that would lift them clear of the drop zone.

Riddled by internal strife and supporter rebellion, City will take to the field looking to achieve what many see as an impossible task.

To the surprise of most observers, Stuart Pearce remains in charge for this fixture. It is difficult to see how he will manage to motivate the side for what has become a must win game for both his personal ambitions and for the good of the club.

Given that the team have failed to show up and, despite the manager`s arguments to the contrary, have looked a team divided for their last two fixtures it is hard to see beyond a Chelsea victory.

I hope I`m wrong. I hope all of the recent criticism has hit all at the club very hard and that they dig deep and rediscover that thing called professional pride. At the very least I hope we can put some pressure on the Chelsea goal and once more look like a team united in one common goal; namely playing to win the eleven remaining fixtures starting with this one tonight.

That will mean the manager setting up the team to win the game. Playing not to lose will backfire, Chelsea have too much talent. Tottenham showed that they can be pressured in defence but they also showed what happens when you sit back and let them attack. If City go into this game with the sole intent of nicking something they will lose.

Regardless of the result all of us here at Vital Manchester City ask just one thing from those attending tonight. Get behind the eleven players selected and show them where our loyalties lie. Save any demonstrations until after the game and direct them at the right targets. It is imperative that we support those selected regardless of how we feel about their recent performances. It is also important that we show that our expectations are not the problem at this club. Remember we all want the same thing; 3 points for Manchester City. the inquests can come later.

Pearce wants support:

Under fire Stuart Pearce calls for the supporters to support the club.


'The fans are a massive part of this football club,

'They will be here long after the players and board have gone and the manager has been changed a million times.

'But the one thing they have to do is get behind the players. If the fans have any frustrations they should take them out on me.'

Manchester City Team News:

Expect a return for Dickov as Corradi finds himself out in the cold. Mpenza could push Dickov for a start but may well find himself on the bench once again as the manager looks for more aggression in front of goal.

I don't expect Pearce to change from his favoured 5-3-2 but it will leave his centre backs exposed if Chelsea start with two wingers.

Man City (from):

Weaver, Richards, Dunne, Distin, Ball, Trabelsi, Barton, Ireland, Beasley, Samaras, Corradi, Isaksson, Jihai, Dabo, Vassell, Hamann, Dickov, Sturridge, Mpenza, Miller.

Player to watch: Barton

Not the best week for Joey so far. Will feel he needs to deliver after his recent comments on the divisions within the squad.

Chelsea Team News:

Terry will return for Chelsea after missing the three games since he was concussed in the Carling Cup final.

Shevchenko is a doubt after pulling up in training yesterday.

Chelsea (from):

Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Hedman, Ferreira, Geremi, Diarra, Carvalho, Essien, Terry, Bridge, A Cole, Lampard, Makelele, Ballack, Drogba, Shevchenko, Kalou, Wright-Phillips, Boulahrouz.

Player to watch: Cech

A tongue in cheek selection. If we are watching Cech then at least City are attacking.

Match Facts & Stats

City lost 3-0 on the opening day of the season at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea scoring through Terry, Lampard and Drogba.

Last season at Eastlands Chelsea were 1-0 winners, a late goal from Joe Cole sealing the points.

City have lost their last five, four of them in the Premiership, and go into this game fourth from bottom but six points clear of Charlton.

Chelsea are unbeaten in eleven games and a win tonight would move them within 6 points of the top of the table.

Ref Watch:

Alan Wiley ..... City have had their moments with Wiley refereeing but there are worse.

Match Prediction:

As much as I hate to say it I really cannot see beyond a big Chelsea win. City are struggling to manage attempts on goal let alone score and our defence is not good enough to keep Chelsea at bay. I expect a repeat of the opening day; 3-0 to Chelsea.

Next Fixtures:

Boro (a) 17/03/07 3pm




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The journalist

Writer: Andy Leggott Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday March 14 2007

Time: 10:39AM

Your Comments

I like the line about Cech! What kind of antics can we expect from Barton tonight?
Westl
Well said Andy. Blues must stick together and give it a go against all the odds. This game could be something of a last stand in more ways than one. The stories are emerging now of players blanking others. Well some of them haven't been passing to each other most of the season so no surprise there! Meanwhile, the official site are trumpeting the absence of Shevchenko in typical straw clutching fashion. I'd like to see Isaksson, Abdoun, Miller, Sturridge and Mpenza all start.
Johnny Baguette
Westl: Barton will get on with the game I hope. Unless he decides to bring the splits in the club into the public domain. Johnny B: I think Abdoun, Miller and Sturridge all played for the reserves last night. Agre re: Isaksson and Mpenza though.
ronin
 

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