Chelsea - Manchester City Preview: Benitez takes on champions in first Blues test
Two of the top three meet in an eagerly anticipated clash on Sunday as the hosts look to usher in a new era at Stamford Bridge following Roberto Di Matteo's shock dismissal
By Husmukh Kerai
Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole
Hazard, Oscar, Mata
Maicon, Nastasic, Lescott, Zabaleta
Silva, Nasri, Tevez
Rafa Benitez will be without his captain John Terry (knee) for his first game in charge, the Chelsea defender injured himself against Liverpool and is not expected back until December.
Frank Lampard (calf) and Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) also remained sidelined.
Roberto Mancini has real concerns over captain Vincent Kompany (knee), after he left City's Champions League match against Real Madrid on crutches.
He joins Gael Clichy (ankle), Micah Richards (knee) and Mario Balotelli (back) on the injury list at Eastlands.
James Milner is expected to to be fit after recovering from a hamstring concern.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea have not gone three games at Stamford Bridge without a Premier League win since December 2008, but have lost just two of their last 15 home games.
- The Blues have both scored and conceded in their last seven Premier League games.
- Chelsea are behind only Arsenal with victories against Manchester City, the Blues' 20 trailing the Gunners' 21.
- Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez (pictured) has scored six goals in his last six Premier League games against Chelsea.
Tevez is 11/8 with Bet365 to score anytime in this game.
- There have been five penalties awarded in the last six league meetings between the two sides.
- City are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League away games, winning five.
- The champions have conceded more than one goal away from home only once in 11 months in the league.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea FC 2-1 Manchester City FC
- 20.73 %
Chelsea FC 1-2 Manchester City FC
- 10.95 %
Chelsea FC 2-0 Manchester City FC
- 8.77 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Oct 27, 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - Manchester City FC 1|
|Club Friendlies (FR)||May 25, 2013||Manchester City FC 5 - Chelsea FC 3|
|Club Friendlies (FR)||May 24, 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Manchester City FC 4|
|England - FA Cup (FA)||Apr 14, 2013||Chelsea FC 1 - Manchester City FC 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Feb 24, 2013||Manchester City FC 2 - Chelsea FC 0|
|Dec 4, 2013||Sunderland 3 - Chelsea FC 4||EPL|
|Dec 1, 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|Nov 26, 2013||Basel 1 - Chelsea FC 0||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||West Ham 0 - Chelsea FC 3||EPL|
|Nov 9, 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - West Bromwich Albion 2||EPL|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
His return to the team in recent weeks has coincided with an improvement in displays. A fine showing against Real Madrid again showcased his ability in the final third to play the killer pass, and Manchester City will need his quick-thinking with Chelsea expected to enjoy the superior share of possession.
The Spaniard was dropped in what turned out to be Roberto Di Matteo's final game in charge against Juventus. Luckily for him he has another chance to shine under the man who brought him t England with Rafael Benitez now at the helm. It is now or never for the previously mercurial forward to prove himself at Chelsea and a positive start against the champions will do his confidence wonders.
Both of these sides’ defences have looked shaky with their captains unavailable through injury, but Vincent Kompany’s calm head is more vital to Manchester City than John Terry is to Chelsea.
The chance to impress new manager Rafa Benitez and earn a place in the Chelsea side for the coming weeks could also bring the best out of the hosts, namely Fernando Torres, so expect a narrow home win.