Chelsea are set to visit the Etihad stadium for the second time this February but, this time it’s for the FA Cup and a battle for survival in a competition that means so much for both sides to win this season. Jose Mourinho has stressed the importance of winning this cup as it’s the most traditional cup trophy of all the ones in Europe.
Our last outing against Man City was a 1-0 away victory in Feb. 3rd with a goal from Branislav Ivanovic. The 3 points were so crucial that after two additional matches played in which we got 4 points out of possible 6 afterwards, we lie in first at the top of the league. Now, the Special one hopes to win over his arch-nemesis Manuel Pellegrini for the 3rd time this season and eliminate one of the top favorites to win the cup Manchester City.
For that to happen, we need a strong line-up and the perfect tactic to get the victory needed. Jose knows best but, let’s predict or analyze here in my views, what would be the perfect condition to beat Man City for one last crucial time at the Etihad this season.
After our last victory over them with a 4-2-3-1 formation, we should apply the 4-3-3 defensive, counter attacking formation against the Citizens this time in my opinion. The team has enough rest than Chelsea who played on Tuesday in a cold, grueling night away at West Brom. Man City’s match was postponed and will give them an advantage at least for this fixture alone. That’s why I think we should close down the defense and hit them on the counter this time.
GK: Petr Cech
The Czech stopper will be crucial for this game just like he was by making two exceptional saves from David Silva’s free kick and a late curler from Jovetic to earn an improbable clean sheet at the Etihad for the first time since November 2010 by any goal keeper.
Back line: Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole
Ivanovic is simply on top form recently and should start this game to provide his big game experience and the defensive reliability he brings to the back line. Cahill, if he is fine after his little injury around the ending of West brom vs Chelsea, should partner the returning captain John Terry at the back. And finally, it would be important to look forward to the Galatasaray match in the next mid-week Champions league and rest Cesar Azpilicueta. Ashley Cole should be given a start in this game for sure.
Midfield: Ramires, Mikel, Lampard
Nemanja Matic may not likely start after three grueling fixtures played starting from a nearly man of the match performance against the same side in the premier league. Lampard will return after his game against Newcastle last Saturday in the premier league. Mikel should be back in the line-up after so long and in my opinion be diploid in the anchor role in the middle of the park to stop the run of Toure and the possibly fit Fernandinho.
Attack: Hazard, Torres, Schurrle
Hazard and Andre Schurrle would give a great amount of pace and width to the team. They will also be vital in defending against the dangerous full backs of Manchester City. Fernando Torres will likely start in this game after he came on from the bench against West Brom.
This is the line-up I think will be crucial to us advancing further in the premier league and I completely understand not many of you may agree with the exclusion of Matic from the line-up but, I think he might need a rest and might come on for Lampard or Ramires as a sub. The same applies for Willian and Oscar as they might be asked to come on for Hazard or Schurrle as a sub.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and sound your opinion on what you think of my line-up. Follow me on twitter (@FahmiCFC) and KTBFFH!