London: Manchester City will bid to extend their perfect Premier League home record this season when they defend top spot against third-placed Chelsea on Monday.
City, who went top of the table with a crushing 5-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, host Chelsea after Jose Mourinho’s team were held 0-0 at home by West Ham United in a London Derby on Wednesday.
The big clash at the Etihad, where Manuel Pellegrini’s City have scored 42 goals in 11 league wins this season, will be a prelude of the team’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at the same stadium in mid-February.
After the home draw against West Ham, Mourinho had lambasted the Hammers for playing “19th century football”. However, coming to the Etihad, Mourinho might just have to resort to the very same tactics against a team that has left everyone overwhelmed by their free-scoring football.
City would be without the services of their prolific striker Sergio Aguero. But, that is unlikely to cause Pellegrini a headache. Alvaro Negredo has been in fine goal-scoring form this season. Edin Dzeko, too, has proved that he is ready to move up from his role of a second-fiddle to Aguero and Negredo and become a first team regular. And then, there is the young and restless Stevan Jovetic.
For Chelsea, Samuel Eto’ and Demba Ba are likely to partner up front as Fernando Torres is unlikely to return from a knee injury.
Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, Fernandinho are likely to form City’s midfield, while Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksander Kolarov, and Martin Demichelis might form their backline.
Players like Matija Nastasic and Gael Clichy might also get a look-in.
As far as Chelsea are concerned, Oscar, Frank Lampard, Willian, Andre Schuerrle are likely to feature in the midfield. Mourinho also have a few options in new signings Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah.