Games between big sides in the early part of the season are often cagey. Neither team wants to risk losing the match and thereby refrain from going out of the way to win it as well. The encounter between last season’s top 2 sides, Chelsea and Manchester City on Sunday, is expected to be that kind of a game.
Even though it is only the second game week of the season, there is a feeling that this game is going to have some major repercussions. The Blues go into it having dropped 2 points on the opening day at home to Swansea City while City thrashed West Bromwich Albion 3-0 in their first match.
Jose Mourinho’s side are under pressure to react, and with all the hype around Eva Carneiro’s demotion, the club will be hoping for a positive result. It is imperative, though, that we don’t lose this game.
There are match-winners in every team, but there are two individuals to look out for in this game. For the home side, it is David Silva. The Spaniard is one of the most accomplished number 10’s in the Premier League, and can turn a game on its head in the blink of an eye.
Sergio Aguero is the major goalscoring threat, and Yaya Toure is the man in form, but Silva’s superb vision is what Chelsea must be extremely wary of. John Terry and Gary Cahill weren’t at their best last week, and if they let Aguero in behind regularly, Silva will pick the Argentine out blindfolded with that magnificent left foot of his.
On the other side of the pitch is Eden Hazard, who will be the one to watch out for from our point of view in every match of the season. Even though he could be up against arguably the best right-back in the league in Pablo Zabaleta, it won’t be a first if he gets the better of him. The sight of the Argentine full-back being bamboozled by Hazard and falling flat on his backside at Stamford Bridge two years ago is a sight that will remain fresh in every Blues fan’s mind.
The winger was initially criticized for not turning up in big games, but has well and truly addressed that problem now, and will be looking to put in another match-winning performance against the early league leaders.
Silva, at 29, is undoubtedly the more experienced of the two players while Hazard (24) is still at a stage where he is constantly improving.
Despite this, though, it is the Belgian who has been superior to the Spaniard in nearly every department over the last few years. Using the player comparison matrix from Squawka, we took a look at the key attributes that define how good an attacking midfielder is – goals scored, successful take-ons, key passes, assists and chances created. For both the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons, there was an overwhelming winner. Even though City won the league in the former of those campaigns, Hazard clearly ousted Silva in the individual battle in every area apart from the assists. Last year, he won in every department.
In a cagey game, it is often a stroke of individual brilliance that wins the three points. Both Silva and Hazard are more than capable of that one moment of magic, and Sunday’s result could be very much up to who has a better day at the office.
If we rewind to last season’s game at the Etihad, we’ll see that both goals in the 1-1 draw were set up by these two. Hazard’s ball for Andre Schurrle saw Chelsea open the scoring, before Silva’s ball over the top of our defence allowed James Milner to pull it back for Frank Lampard to equalise.
It will be fascinating to see who comes out on top this Sunday. There is no doubt that the confidence is very much with City, but Mourinho’s Chelsea have proved in the past that when they are backed into a corner, they lash out. The pressure is on, but what remains to be seen is who thrives and who buckles.
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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