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".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before