The Perks of Pounding Pellegrino

Manchester City won their first game of the season just like they did last season. They beat one of last season’s relegation candidates in the opening match of the season in 2014-15. This season they have beaten West Brom at the Hawthorns already and look ominous, just like they did after matchweek one last season.

But by the third match of the season they were beaten at home to Stoke, one of the revealations of last season. Stoke are stronger this season but that is another story. The loss at home to Stoke was followed by difficult matches against Arsenal and Chelsea. They drew both the games and had fallen five points short of the royal Blues.

They were never going to overhaul Mourinho’s men, only managing to tie once later in the season before again tapering off. They will hope not to do so this season.

The faded Blues have lost James Milner and Lampard but have added Raheem Sterling and are after a runaway Chelsea player of yore. They are stronger than last season and perhaps the hunger and determination to win is back again. We have already seen that title contenders don’t actually affect each others’ standing in the league table. Yet, here we are discussing the advantages of Chelsea putting one past the Citizens.

If Chelsea win this game, first and foremost it would imply that the Blues are still ahead of the Chasing pack. It would mean that everyone still has to catch up to the stability that Mourinho has brought to a once tumultuous Stamford Bridge.

Make no mistake, as things stand, Chelsea are a couple of points behind the Manchester Blues and are the ones in chase. But a victory at the Etihad would put that right, in favour of the Blues of London. Chelsea would leapfrog City by a point if they win and it would be a boost, however small. So, to regain the top spot and soon enough, Chelsea have to surpass Citizens.

It is a tough ask as Chelsea are certain to miss their No.1 goalkeeper Petr Cech Thibaut Courtois due to his red card against the FA Swansea. No, their is no campaign per se as their was last season but the Blues are already the grieving recipients of some bad decision in the first game itself. At the Etihad, things can’t be expected to turn rosy so suddenly. However, after a week of some curious decision all around the league, the refereeing standard should have increased.

This win would also give Mourinho a march on Arsenal, who might have been written of by some due to Cech’s heroics failures in the first match. In truth, the gunners can still be title contenders especially if they actually sign a couple more players. Their record through the last couple of seasons gives actual reason to believe so. In such a condition, a win would be the least Chelsea can do to stay in touching distance of the gunners.

It would also help the mood in the dressing room which has not been ideal following the events in the last few weeks. Gary Cahill admitted his disappointment at losing two points to Swansea and a win against one of the two main rivals is a sure-shot means to boosting confidence to a high.

Every one in the team needs a shot of confidence at the moment, including Ivanovic and Terry. We have seen the stalwarts rise to the ocassion and there should be no shortage of motivation against Manchester City. At the end of the day it will be just another match, but a draw against a direct rival is worth double the points. As you prevent them from gaining all the two points and win one yourself, but a win is even sweeter still.

Hazard and Oscar will have to show that they can change games, on their own when it counts. It is at biggest of moments that the biggest of players rise to the occasion. Both of them aspire to be there and hence need to show up when the team needs them the most.

Also, in a few weeks time Arsenal will be visiting the Blues and by then a rythm needs to be found, there can be no better place to start than the Etihad itself.

The win, assuming it is achieved would be proof an internal evolution of the team. We saw hell of an Oscar at the Bridge against Swansea, only for the red card causing him to be taken off. If he plays to that level against City and so does Hazard who has been uncharacteristically quiet since the start of this season, it bodes well for the months to come.

Pellegrino sets his team to play an attacking brand of soccer and Chelsea are themselves a fan of the style these days. Would we see a classic Mourinho tactical approach or will he loosen all the guns come weekend? No one can say for sure. But whatever approach Mourinho takes would tell us where Chelsea are in terms of their evolution. There is no point in being cavalier like Arsenal but it would be a sweet thing to beat City at their own game.

Since all the rustiness must have fallen off players by now and almost everyone available bar Courtois, this should be a thrilling contest. One must remember that if the Blues lose this one they will fall behind both United and City and perhaps Arsenal too. A draw is the most likely scenario but their sure are perks to pounding Pellegrini.

The game is all about setting the tone for the season. It may well decide who is chasing whom at the end of the year. However, it is by no means a title decider never mind the result. Win, lose or tie, Chelsea till I die!


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