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Premier League

  • 24 February 2013
  • • 19:00
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 47256
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Manchester City - Chelsea Preview: Blues look to catch Mancini's side as Benitez's men battle for second

Manchester City - Chelsea Preview: Blues look to catch Mancini's side as Benitez's men battle for second

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With the title slipping from the current Premier League champions' grasp, the away side will look to capitalise and go within a point of the team above them with a win


Roberto Mancini is likely to make several changes from the rotated side that beat Leeds 4-0 in the FA Cup as regulars Joe Hart, Gael Clichy and Edin Dzeko are all likely to replace Costil Pantilimon, Aleksandar Kolarov and Carlos Tevez.

The home side could also receive a much-needed boost with captain Vincent Kompany currently striving to return from a calf injury in time for the game. If he passes a late fitness test he should return in place of Kolo Toure.

Gareth Barry (knock), however, remains doubtful while Micah Richards (knee) will definitely not feature.

Rafa Benitez is also set to make a variety of changes from the side that drew against Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday, as Frank Lampard, Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole, all rested in that game, should return at the expense of John Obi Mikel, John Terry and Ryan Bertrand.

Eden Hazard, following his late tie-winning contribution in Thursday's game, should also come back into the starting line-up, with Oscar likely to be the man that drops to the bench.

Demba Ba should also, once again, come in for Fernando Torres to lead the line after missing out on the Europa League tie, having already featured in the competition for Newcastle.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Manchester City have managed to win just one of their past four Premier League encounters with Chelsea, losing two and drawing the other.
  • Chelsea won 10 of their first 12 away league games against the current champions, but City have won the last three clashes at the Etihad Stadium.
  • The sides are well-matched, with City boasting this season's second-best home record, while the visitors have the second-best away form in the league, with Manchester United leading both tables.
  • Meanwhile, Chelsea's Frank Lampard (pictured) will be looking to score in his fifth consecutive league game for only the third time in his career (having previously done so in 2005 and 2010).
  • The Blues have been awarded eight penalties this season, the most in the Premier League, though their opposition today has, aside from rivals Manchester United, enjoyed the most spot-kicks in the league since the start of last season (14).
  • Fernando Torres will be looking to recover from a torrid recent spell of form if he features here, having scored just one in his last 13 games; against Sparta Prague on Thursday, he had more shots than anyone else on the pitch and not only did he fail to score, but only one of those was on target.
  • The Blues are 13th in the table when it comes to losing the lead in matches this season, having dropped 14 points from winning positions.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Joe HartGoalkeeper
5Pablo ZabaletaDefender
22Gael ClichyDefender
4Kolo ToureDefender
33Matija NastasicDefender
7James MilnerMidfielder
26Javi GarcíaMidfielder
26Jack RodwellMidfielder
21David SilvaStriker
42Yaya Touré Midfielder
16Sergio AgüeroStriker
30Costel PantilimonGoalkeeper
6Joleon LescottDefender
13Aleksandar KolarovDefender
8Samir NasriMidfielder
11Scott Sinclair Midfielder
10Edin DzekoStriker
10Carlos TévezStriker
1Petr CechGoalkeeper
2Branislav IvanovicDefender
3Ashley ColeDefender
23David LuizDefender
24Gary CahillDefender
7RamiresMidfielder
12John Obi MikelMidfielder
17Eden HazardMidfielder
8Frank LampardMidfielder
8Juan MataStriker
9Demba BaStriker
21Ross TurnbullGoalkeeper
28César AzpilicuetaDefender
-Ryan BertrandDefender
26John TerryDefender
11OscarMidfielder
-Victor MosesMidfielder
9Fernando TorresStriker

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