It’s the champions against the runners-up of last season, as Chelsea travel to the Etihad to take on Manchester City on Sunday. Both teams know that this will be a monstrous duel, and will by no means be easy.
TEAM NEWS, INJURY UPDATES, AND SUSPENSIONS
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is suspended after having received a red card against Swansea last week. Jose Mourinho further intimated that Oscar had received a knock in training and is doubtful for the clash.
Jose: ‘Oscar is a doubt, he had a little injury in training. Courtois is suspended, apart from that it’s all good.’ #CFC
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 14, 2015
Asmir Begovic will make his first Premier League start for Chelsea. The rest of the squad, including Diego Costa, is fit and ready to play.
Fabian Delph is out with a hamstring injury, while left-back Gael Clichy, who missed the 3-0 win against Albion, is still being assessed. In case he misses out, Kolarov is in line to start. Fernando is a long-term absentee. Yaya Toure has a slight niggling pain in his groin, but will definitely be ready for Sunday’s match. Sergio Aguero too, is fit to start, which is a big boost for City.
Chelsea weren’t at their best on the opening day of the Premier League season against Swansea, which ended in a 2-2 draw at the Bridge, but they were leading up until Courtois conceded the penalty and got himself sent off in the process. Mourinho hailed Chelsea’s character for being on top even when they were reduced to 10 men. However, Chelsea knows they had a slow start to the season, and will be looking to get a good result against allegedly their strongest rivals.
City hit the ground running last week, as they absolutely dominated West Brom from start to the finish. Hitting three unanswered goals, City looked like serious candidates for the crown even at this early stage. Last season City were held to a 1-1 draw by Chelsea at home, but this time the Etihad outfits will try and take advantage of Blues’ rusty form and send a message to the current champions.
KEY PLAYER BATTLES
Toure vs Matic
Yaya Toure was exceptional in City’s victory over West Brom, scoring a stunner after having played a huge part in the first goal. He is used to bossing the midfield, and Matic has to be at his absolute best if he has to stop the big Ivorian from creating havoc.
Sterling, Silva vs. Zouma
Mourinho may deploy Zouma in midfield, to break up the play between Aguero, Silva and Sterling, knowing that their pace may be too much for Ivanovic, who likes to bomb forward. Zouma’s duty will be to provide cover to both Ivanovic and Cahill.
Costa vs. Kompany
Costa scored 20 goals in the league last season, and will be looking to get on the scoresheet as quickly as possible, after firing a blank last week. Kompany is a solid defender, but Costa will definitely pose problems for the Belgian.
Jose Mourinho has won 7 times and lost just twice against teams managed by Manuel Pellegrini. City have won just twice against Chelsea in their last nine attempts in the Premier League.
LAST 5 MEETINGS
Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City 31/01/2015
Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea 21/09/2014
Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea 15/02/2014
Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea 03/02/2014
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City 27/10/2013
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UPS
Chelsea: Begovic (GK), Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (C), Azpilicueta, Matic, Zouma, Hazard, Fabregas, Willian, Costa
Manchester City: Hart (GK), Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Mangala, Kolarov, Toure, Fernandinho, Sterling, Silva, Navas, Aguero
Manchester City 0-0 Chelsea
Time: 1600 GMT / 2030 IST
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Referee: Martin Atkinson
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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