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City v Chelsea clash heralds our new BPL preview format

City v Chelsea clash heralds our new BPL preview format
August 14
16:15 2015

It’s the first big match of the season as Manchester City play champions Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

It is too early for this tie to be labelled a ‘must-win’ or ‘title decider’ but it is not too early to begin our preview of matches of the Barclays Premier League (BPL) with a new and exciting format.

Here a soccer analyst talks us through a star match and also provides predictions for the remaining fixtures. Victor Akhidenor will kick-start this new approach.

They don’t say charity begins at home for nothing!

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CURRENT FORM

Chelsea had an underwhelming pre-season and the frustration continued in their 2-2 draw against Swansea in their opening Barclays Premier League match last weekend.

City, on the other hand, came out flying off the traps at West Brom on Monday night with a convincing 3-0 win.

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The Citizens looked impressive in attack at the Hawthorns with Yaya Toure looking like the player that bagged 20 goals in 2013-14 season.

Chelsea’s defence and midfield appeared vulnerable against Swansea, and City can exploit those weaknesses.

KEY BATTLES

Yaya Toure and David Silva v Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic

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yayatoure

The central midfield battles could shape the result of this match.

Toure demonstrated against WBA that he can still turn it on when some have questioned the 32-year-old’s legs – justifiably, though, for his below par outputs last season.

Fabregas will be up against Silva for the title of pass master in central midfield. The former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder was the assist king last season, so he has the range and accuracy to match his fellow Spaniard.

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Matic does all the necessary dirty work in Chelsea’s midfield and when the ‘destroyer’ is at work no-one can match the Serbian for this ability in the game. He combines a frightening 6ft 4ins frame with technical abilities. Well, the same thing can be said of Toure!

Sergio Aguero v John Terry and Gary Cahill

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terry

 

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Aguero is racing to be fit for the tie and it will be good news to Terry and Cahill if he misses it completely. The Argentine is yet to shake off his involvement in the Copa America where he led his country to the second position. He missed City’s pre-season matches and came on as a substitute on Monday night.

But he faces Cahill and Terry who were part of the leanest defence in the league on the way to winning it last season.

Despite his age, Chelsea captain Terry continues to be one of the best defenders in world football. The 34-year-old is making every effort to prolong his career and even in the twilight of it there are still few better.

But if Aguero starts, his pace could cause Terry problems.

Diego Costa v Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala

mangala

Costa is a ‘beast’ of a forward, but I think he will have his match in the City’s defensive duo.

Kompany is still the ‘Delta state’ whose beating heart pumps energy through the rest of the team. He will be crucial in dealing with Costa.

Mangala is yet to justify the £32million City paid a year ago for his services. Teams even targeted him as a weak point in City’s defence last season and I know Jose Mourinho has been watching the ‘weakest link’!

HEAD 2 HEAD (LAST FIVE GAMES)

Sat          31/01/15              BPL         Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City

Sun        21/09/14              BPL         Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea

Sat          15/02/14              FAC        Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea

Mon      03/02/14              BPL         Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea

Sun        27/10/13              BPL         Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City

PREDICTION

City have an opportunity to open up a five-point gap between themselves and their perennial title contender Chelsea if they win this game.

Mourinho will play for the draw but I see a Courtois-less Chelsea come out with nothing from this game. 2-0

Key match stats (supplied by Opta)

City have won only two of their last nine against Chelsea in the BPL (D3 L4).

Chelsea have not lost any of their last 28 BPL games in the month of August (W23 D5).

Mourinho has won seven and lost just two of the 12 meetings as a coach with Manuel Pellegrini (D3).

Mourinho has lost nine BPL games in his second spell as Chelsea manager (77 games) – he lost 10 of 120 BPL matches in his first spell at the club.

The last time that Chelsea lost a league game in the month of August was back on August 23rd 2006; 2-1 away at Middlesbrough.

PREDICTIONS OF OTHER WEEKEND FIXTURES

Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester United

Southampton 1-1 Everton

West Ham United 3-1 Leicester City

Swansea City 0-0 Newcastle United

Sunderland 1-2 Norwich City

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Stoke City

Watford 1-0 West Brom

Crystal Palace 1-3 Arsenal

Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth

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