The Premier League race is getting tougher with every passing week, and the top teams have to keep winning to keep pace with the leaders, Arsenal. 2 teams who have slowly kicked into gear are Chelsea and Manchester City. Both had fresh starts this season with new coaches coming in, and some new players too. They began the season with some amount of uncertainty, but have put together a run of wins now to find themselves breathing down the throats of the leading teams.
Chelsea began the season with an impressive 2-0 victory over Hull, but then never really managed to convince. At one point it looked like it was all going wrong for Mourinho after defeats to Everton and Basel, but the Portugese has won over his players and in tandem, they’ve all got the ship back on course. The star for Chelsea so far has been Oscar, who has gotten ahead of Mata in the pecking order to be the No. 10 (read more about it here). The little Brazilian is the top scorer for the Blues, and has justified the faith placed in him. He will be the leader of the Chelsea attack against City. In defence, John Terry has had a rennaissance of sorts, with the ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’ making the most of the confidence Mourinho has placed in him. The big defender has spoken out about how that has helped, and of course, the tactics have also suited his style. If he does start though, he’ll have to watch Aguero closely. Up front, Mourinho has another dilemma. Both Eto’o and Torres have found the net in recent outings, and Mourinho’s choice will be influenced by what he expects City to do.
Manchester City have been another story unto themselves. Some stunning performances at the Etihad have balanced some pathetic ones away from it. The Citizens have thrown points away against the likes of Villa, but ominously, they’re now playing in a far more coherent manner. The win against CSKA was a good three points, and leaves them looking good to go through to the next round of the Champions League. In attack, Sergio Aguero has been in great form this season, and he will be the threat Chelsea need to monitor. The Argentine has a record of doing well in the big games (ask any United fan) and should make a fist of this game. The midfield looks have grown stronger, with Toure getting company from the now settled Fernandinho. This aspect allowed them to dominate Chelsea last season, and Pellegrini will look to work on the advantage. The weakness in the City team is in the back-line. Kompany and Demichellis are both probably out of the game, meaning that Nastasic, and maybe Lescott or Garcia will start there. This isn’t an encouraging sign for City at all, and they need the defence and Hart to be alert against a team that wont be afraid to shoot from distance, or play the ball around and behind them.
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