According to Roberto Mancini there’s been no manager in England better than him in the last 15 months, by the time his side lines out against Chelsea, there could be a 15 point gap between themselves and Manchester United and failure to return the gap to 12 points could all but see the Premier League trophy start to move to Old Trafford.
Their victory in the FA Cup last weekend against Leeds was compared by Mancini to a "brodino", a ‘starter soup’ common in Italian cuisine; it might not be enough to haul in Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.
Chelsea, on the other hand, will be attempting a first back-to-back win in the league since late December. The reigning European champions have fared well on the travels recording four wins from their last six played, however their last two matches have yielded a defeat in Newcastle and a crazy daw at Reading, where they were cruising to a 2-0 victory before late heroics from Adam Le Fondre. A win for Rafael Benitez’s men will reduce the gap to City to a solitary point.
Kick-off: Sunday, 1.30pm
Past three meetings…
Manchester City 0 Chelsea 0, Premier League, November 2012.
Chelsea 2 (Torres, Bertrand) Manchester City 3 (Touré, Tévez, Nasri), Community Shield, August 2012.
Manchester City 2 (Agüero, Nasri) Chelsea 1 (Cahill), Premier League, March 2012
Manchester City’s home form since losing to Everton in December 2010 is formidable, losing just once in 42 games, and that was against Manchester United last September.
Chelsea’s last victory away to City was in September 2008 under Luiz Felipe Scolari. Frank Lampard scored in that 3-1 win and is currently two goals away from equalling Bobby Tambling as the clubs all-time leading goalscorer.
Chelsea have kept two cleansheets, from 11 played, on the road since recording back-to-back shutouts in their first two away trips. Manchester City, on the other hand, kept four cleansheets in their last seven games at home.
Manchester City to win: 1.85
Chelsea to win: 4.2
TV: Sky Sports 1, 1pm. Highlights on BBC 1, 10.25pm