Chelsea Vs Manchester City
Chelsea will be without the suspended David Luiz, who scored in the 2-0 win over Manchester City earlier this year. Picture - Reuters.

Manchester City makes the trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in a crunch Premiership encounter on Monday.

At the start of the season, not many would have expected a 10-point gap between the two sides at this stage. However, Chelsea's blip combined with Man City's unbeaten run has seen the blue Mancs surge to the top of the table with a seemingly formidable lead over their London rivals.

Chelsea have a chance to change that here. They come into this game with a morale boosting 3-0 win over Valencia in the Champions League in midweek, a game which sealed their spot in the knockout stages of the tournament as group winners. That victory came after triumphs over Newcastle and Wolves, which has seen the pressure on the Blues fall slightly.

Pressure could easily jump back up again however, with another loss at home against City, who are unbeaten domestically this season. The league leaders haven't had as good a time at Europe though after they were eliminated in the group stages of the Champions League despite securing an impressive 2-0 win over German giants Bayern Munich.

The more pessimistic of Chelsea supporters will fear a City reaction, on Monday, and it is likely. Villas-Boas could send out his side in the same manner as against Valencia, defensively solid and focused on counter-attacking. It could serve well against the fluidity of City's frontline and help keep the brilliant David Silva in check.

City themselves will have to look out for Chelsea's summer acquisition Juan Mata whose seven assists this season is bettered only by Silva who has eight. The two players are the engines of their respective sides and how they are used could prove the key to the final score.

A win for Chelsea could infuse new life in the title race, while a loss for the home side could see them miss out come May.

It has all the makings of a classic.

Team News

Andre Villas-Boas could deny Frank Lampard his 350th Premier League start for Chelsea as he is believed to prefer Raul Meireles in the midfield role. The Blues will be without David Luiz who is suspended after picking his fifth yellow card of the season against Newcastle last week. However, Jose Bosingwa has recovered from injury and could take his place with Branislav Ivanovic being shifted to central defence.

Manchester City right-back Micah Richards is doubtful with calf injury although the returning Pablo Zabaleta could replace him. Aleksandar Kolarov remains sidelined with a groin injury.

Match Fact

Chelsea have a formidable home record against Manchester City, winning five of their last six games with their only defeat in 13 home games against City coming in February 2007.


It'll be an explosive encounter and expect a reaction from City. However, even the toughest sides could be troubled if Chelsea line-up in a defensive formation. Expect a 1-0 Chelsea win.