After Chelsea’s midweek goalless draw with West Ham at Stamford Bridge, a match they dominated possession and had a staggering 39 shots in, Jose Mourinho accused West Ham of playing “19th-Century football” and claimed he would need a “Black and Decker tool” to breach the Hammers’ dogged defences. However with a match against free-scoring title rivals Manchester City up next for Chelsea, he may just need to adopt such ‘park the bus’ tactics he was so quick to condemn to keep City out.
City have scored a massive 35 goals in just nine games in January, and Mourinho won’t want to join a growing list of teams, which includes Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, that have fallen victim to City’s imperious goal scoring form at the Etihad. Few leave the Etihad without a mauling these days, but if the prospect of retaining top spot was not enough incentive for City, the title favourites go into this match with the added spice of revenge on the agenda. Images of the calamitous last-minute breakdown of communications between Matija Nastasic and Joe Hart that allowed Fernando Torres to score a lucky winner in the reverse fixture will still be fresh in the memory of City players, and they will be desperate to put things right with a victory.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have title aspirations of their own and should prove more of a test for Manuel Pellegrini’s side than Tottenham did in midweek, with Tim Sherwood’s side succumbing to an emphatic 5-1 defeat that meant City went top. They will though however be happy to hear that City’s star striker Sergio Aguero is a doubt for the game after picking up a hamstring strain in Wednesday’s game at White Hart Lane. With both sides in good form, and Chelsea only three points behind the league leaders, expect this clash of the titans encounter to be a close run affair.
KICK-OFF: Monday, 8.00pm
Chelsea 2 (Schurrle, Torres) Man City 1 (Aguero), Premier League, October 2013
Chelsea 1 (Ba) Man City 2 (Nasri, Aguero), FA Cup, April 2013
Man City 2 (Toure, Tevez) Chelsea 0, Premier League, February 2013.
Chelsea 0 Man City 0, Premier League, November 2012
Chelsea 2 (Torres, Bertrand) Man City 3 (Toure, Tevez, Nasri), Community Shield, August 2012
City have scored 42 goals in 11 league wins at the Etihad this season.
Chelsea have only won one of their last six matches against City, drawing one and losing the other four.
City have now scored more Premier League goals this season (68) than they did for the whole of the last (66).
Sergio Aguero has now scored in eight successive appearances in all competitions.
Chelsea had 39 shots against West Ham in their last game; the most by any team who failed to score in the PL since 2003/04.
Man City to win: 1.9
Chelsea to win: 4.6
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 HD at 8:00pm. Highlights on BBC1 on Monday at 10.35pm.