While it may be too early to be a title decider, the match between Manchester City and Barclays Premier League defending champions, Chelsea, on Sunday at the Etihad will still be used as a marker.
City were in cruise control against West Brom last Monday while Chelsea had all sorts of challenges with Swansea at Stamford Bridge. The medical staff saga is still rumbling with Jose Mourinho deciding not to issue any apology to his medical staff, whom he branded ‘naïve’ for running unto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard
Jose and Chelsea will be five points behind their main rivals with just two matches gone so you could expect not only the London bus at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon but an accompanying of Roman Abramovich’s large yacht.
Manuel Pellegrini must therefore have prepared his team for how to break down the armada while Mourinho must have prepared for a smash and grab affair.
3 things that will decide the match…
Sergio Aguero being fit
For City’s first match, Aguero came off the bench and showed he was still lacking some sharpness after his extended holiday after the Copa America, for which he represented Argentina and they got to the final. The 26-goal striker is still the main talisman for Pellegrini and if he is fit and raring to go then Mourinho could be under more pressure after the 90 minutes.
Eden Hazard’s mood
Last week against Swansea, Hazard showed a side that many thought he had outgrown – nonchalance. He did not start playing until 15 minutes to the end of the encounter as Chelsea, down to 10 men chased an unlikely win. City captain and fellow Belgian, Vincent Kompany says ‘immediately Hazard starts running, then there is chaos’. Mourinho will be expecting a big performance from his talisman at the Etihad on Sunday.
Yaya Toure vs. Nemanja Matic
Toure seemed to be back to his swashbuckling self in the thrashing of West Brom as he combined very effectively with David Silva, scoring a peach of a goal but against Chelsea, he will come up against a Matic, who did not play well in the first match of the season. One thing that is sure is that Toure will not have the kind of licence he had last Monday and that Matic would raise his game.
“We’re playing against champions, against one of the team that has chances to win the title, so to try to win the three points at home is very important and try to be a bigger Club in all senses. – Manuel Pellegrini
“This season we tried to go in another direction. We went for a slower start, with a short pre-season. We know what we are doing, but clearly some didn’t react as well as we expected.” – Jose Mourinho