Monday, February 17, 2014

Manchester City - Chelsea Preview: Well-rested hosts out for revenge on league leaders

Eden Hazard, Manchester City vs Chelsea, EPL, 020314
Premier League title rivals Manchester City and Chelsea will resume hostilities in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday.

The game marks the second meeting between the two sides at the Etihad Stadium in the space of 12 days, with the Blues having come out on top in the previous clash. Full-back Branislav Ivanovic scored the winner on February 3 as City's 20-match unbeaten run across all competitions came to an abrupt halt in a 1-0 win for Jose Mourinho's men.

As well as holding home advantage, however, City head into Saturday's encounter fresher than their opponents after their Premier League clash with Sunderland was postponed on Wednesday due to adverse weather conditions.

However, the game denied City the opportunity to return to winning ways after Manuel Pellegrini's normally free-scoring outfit drew blanks in their last two fixtures - the loss to Chelsea followed by a 0-0 draw at Norwich City.

The hosts' top scorer, Sergio Aguero (hamstring), midfielder Fernandinho (groin) and centre-back Matija Nastasic (knee) are all set to miss out. Meanwhile, midfield pair Samir Nasri and Javi Garcia have recently returned to training following knee injuries but their involvement looks doubtful.

Chelsea had been riding the crest of a wave as they followed their win at City with a 3-0 home triumph over Newcastle. Mourinho's side suffered a slight setback on Tuesday, however, when they were held to 1-1 draw at West Brom, with Victor Anichebe cancelling out Ivanovic's opener.

The Blues remain at the top of the Premier League table, though City now have a game in hand and a far superior goal difference.

Chelsea have enjoyed a period of success in the world's oldest cup competition in recent times, lifting the trophy on four of the last seven occasions with their last triumph coming in 2012 thanks to a 2-1 win over Liverpool in the final.

Captain John Terry could come back into contention for Mourinho following a muscular issue, while Gary Cahill is struggling with a calf problem.

Manchester City - Chelsea Preview: Well-rested hosts out for revenge on league leaders Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Unknown

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