Football: James expects busy day as City dream of double

"THERE ARE two ways to beat Chelsea; you can either aim to score goals or not let any in." No, this is not the idiot's guide to football but David James going back to basics.

The Manchester City goalkeeper is just one of 11 Premiership players who know what it is like to come off the pitch having beaten a Chelsea side managed by Jose Mourinho, and tomorrow they will try for an improbable double in the forbidding surroundings of Stamford Bridge. On balance, James thinks Manchester City will have to sit on the ropes, hope to nick a goal and then defend furiously, which were precisely the tactics that worked at Eastlands on 16 October.

The penalty Nicolas Anelka converted which James admits was "our only shot on target" was one of eight goals Chelsea have conceded in 25 matches thus far. If they continue at this rate, they will comfortably beat the record of 18 conceded in a full season by the miserly, mechanically drilled Arsenal of George Graham in 1990-91.

When turning aside Paul Dickov's penalty at Ewood Park on Wednesday night, Petr Cech had already beaten Peter Schmeichel's Premiership record of 695 minutes without conceding. This was his eighth Premiership clean sheet and it is nearly two months since he last had to strain his back by picking a ball out of a net in a League game. He is roughly the same age James was when he first arrived at Liverpool and, worryingly for any understudies at Chelsea, has around eight years to go before reaching what is traditionally the peak age for a goalkeeper. "When he came to Chelsea the people in the know I spoke to said he was the real deal at 22," said James. "The difference is that he is in a winning environment and came to the club when Chelsea had already undergone their sea-change which happened when Roman Abramovich came in. The trouble with Liverpool when I joined them was that the change was happening. Graeme Souness was on his way out, there was upheaval at Anfield and there was the rise of Manchester United to cope with.

"To say he is a better goalkeeper than either of Arsenal's is slightly wrong. What he has had is a consistent back-four. I know that the ability of the goalkeeper gives the defence confidence but sometimes it works the other way."

If James has to find fault with Cech it is his weak kicking. "I noticed that when we played them. His manager wasn't particularly happy and I think our fans enjoyed watching him struggle."

When it comes to fault finding with Cech's team, matters are rather trickier. "Everything seems to be working. I spoke to the Chelsea lads last year. A lot of money had been spent and they were very good on some occasions and not so good on others. I said to them: `You just can't buy a winning team'. Giving players loads of money doesn't make them want to win the title.

"They are undoubtedly earning more money this year but they unquestionably have a manager who has instilled a winning mentality. They are a team now. Arsenal versus Manchester United was a classic example of the team winning the game."

Manchester City, "an inconsistent but confident" side according to James, have already gone to both Old Trafford and Highbury and forced a draw. However, Anelka, the man who scored that winner at Chelsea, is now in Istanbul, although James argued he would have been missed far more had he gone last season rather than this.

"For all Nicolas's plusses there were negatives unfortunately. Nothing to do with off-the-field attitudes but the feeling that if it wasn't his day, it wasn't his day. He wasn't the hardest worker and we had to manipulate our game to get round that. Going back to Chelsea, they have a team of superstars but they don't look like it because they work as a team." Asked to describe what kind of afternoon he is expecting tomorrow, James smiles and says: "Busy".

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?