On the eve of a massive FA cup tie between two Premier League titans, Manchester City vs Chelsea, we take a look at 5 key things to watch-for leading up to tomorrow’s match.
Both sides have sets of players who are facing a fight for fitness. Chelsea are facing defensive questions with Cahill suffering a knock midweek, while Terry is a reported 50/50 as of late Friday; Terry will almost certainly pair with Luiz in the center of defense. Manchester City have a handful of players currently in the medical room: Nastasic, Aguero and Fernandinho are out until month’s end, notable returnees include the Spaniard Javi Garcia and the Frenchman Nasri.
Its no secret that much of both team’s success has resulted from spectacular wing play; from Hazard and Willian, to Navas and Silva, productivity and creativity is not in short supply. The question is how the wide back will contain the men down the wing. Ivanovic and Azpi contained the City men well enough to hold onto the result weeks ago, but will Cole slot in as smoothly and do the job? Zabaleta has been ripped to shreds more than once by Hazard this season, therefore we shouldn’t expect anything other than Hazard putting on a class display once again.
3. Midfield Battle
Just two weeks ago in this Premier League match-up, we were treated to a delightful midfield tussle between Matic and Yaya Toure, one where the Serbian simply outclassed the tall Ivorian. Mourinho should rest Matic after a run of great performances, which could result in Obi Mikel slid into the side. Regardless of who sits in the middle of the park, a strong effort to stuff out attacks will result in victory.
Contracting stories regarding the strikers between these teams, Manchester City forwards have been ripping the Premier League apart with goals; every striker is in double digits. Meanwhile, Chelsea have seen glimpses of greatness from Eto’o, limited production from Torres, and no input from Ba. In their first match-up, a Torres winner sealed the three points for Chelsea, and in the latest match a goal from the right back won it while City’s strikers were lethargic.
While Arsene Wenger joined a growing list of victims to Mourinho’s mind games, Manuel Pellegrini says he won’t dare to enter them. Ye,t by simply mentioning it he has thrown himself into the fray. Mourinho seems to have a group of players who believe and follow any method he puts out. The reverse fixture saw Mourinho send out a mostly defensive team, one that absolutely ran the Man City team off the pitch. What will Mourinho pull out of his hat on Saturday? Will Pellegrini muster up a counter plan?
Tune in to this exciting FA Cup clash between two EPL giants, this Saturday, February 15, 2014 (9:15 AM Pacific). The match will be televised on FOX Sports 2 (USA); for any other country check the listings on LiveSoccerTV.