Should Mourinho's Chelsea 'park the bus' at the Etihad or Attack? – Analyzing possible starting 11

Jose vs Pellegrini
The two former Real Madrid bosses are set to go head-to-head at the Etihad as Mourinho’s Chelsea visit Pellegrini’s Manchester City

Looking at the Premier league table at this moment, it sends shiver into any Chelsea fan who knows we are set to play against the league leaders who are in an unstoppable form currently in the premier league. It’s Jose Mourinho vs Manuel Pellegrini yet again in the Premier league and the game is set to be hugely against the odds for the West Londoners who lie in 3rd in the premier league table with 50 points.

And the possibility of dropping 6 points behind Manchester City in February with just 15 games of League game remaining, it’s never easy picking out the tactics for this game even for Jose Mourinho. But, from a perspective of a huge Chelsea fan, I will try to pick out the tactics and starting 11 that, in my opinion, can get the win or even at least a draw at the Etihad on Monday.

Formation: 4-2-3-1 (defensive, fast paced counter attacking while in attack)

This formation is the same as we have used in most games against the big teams except the match we parked the bus against Arsenal at the Emirates looking at least for a draw and not risk going behind against the league leaders then. The 2-1 win against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge earlier this season also saw the same line-up against Pellegrini’s team.

This allows Jose Mourinho’s long time favored style to be implemented with the attacking 3 players behind the striker being crucial to this system as well as the pivot or the defensive anchor men in midfield. Mourinho claimed the reason not to park the bus against the free-scoring opposition at the Etihad.

“We are going to try to win knowing perfectly we can lose or draw. Our intention is to try to win,” he said. “City score goals. Normally, when your approach is very defensive, if you concede a goal you are in trouble. Or you have to make changes during the game and you never know how the players adapt to it.”

His words can be summarized by the notion of the best form of defense is attack. That is a great tactic to follow and we must show that we can go to Etihad and win not trying to defend. It’s will be beneficial though to press-high up the pitch as Mourinho’s Chelsea have done pretty much this season and not close back down and defend.

Starting 11:

GK: Petr Cech

BdtLiyKCEAAwPLHEasy said and done with this selection. With the amount of clean sheets he has been racing up this season by itself, the Great Pete is in full confidence and in great form to stop the fire power of Negredo and Dzeko up top for City.

Back four: Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta

This defense is arguably the best in the premier league this season as it has proven to be a huge element for Mourinho’s transformation of the Blues from last season’s top 4 hopefuls to this season league challengers. Ivanovic will give a huge balance of going forward and also defending in solid form while Manchester City are in attack.

Cahill vs Yaya toure
Gary Cahill will do much of the marking work against Dzeko who is strong in the air while Terry deals well against Negredo’s movement!

The two CBs should be Gary Cahill and John Terry right there with no much need of explanation. The two Englishmen have been in superb form this season and there partnership has restricted to strikers like Luis Suarez and Olivier Giroud having just two shots on target against the Blues in two matches. They are the main reason Petr Cech has racked up many clean sheets this season and Mourinho has surely made Chelsea unbeatable in some ways with this back line.

At left back, we have Cesar Azpilicueta as his speed and agility in defense helps deal very well with his countrymen for our opponents Jesus Navas. The Spaniard’s will go head-to-head at the Etihad pitch on the left flank of our defense and Mourinho will surely be confidence on Azpilicueta to stop all attacks that come from the right wing of their scary attacks.

Pivot: David Luiz and Ramires

Luiz vs LFC heat map
David Luiz’s master class in midfield has been shown against Liverpool and Manchester United as Jose uses his energy to counter attacks of opposition players

This two Brazilians will be key in providing a huge tackling ability and energy in the middle of the park where the Citizens of Manchester come to haunt you. The pace and drive of both Luiz and Ramires will surely stop the threat that is posed by the two middle men of Manchester City Yaya Toure and Fernandinho.

The two have played in that position against Manchester United at Stamford bridge just a while ago as we run out 3-1 victors on home ground. This two will be doing the exact same thing against Manchester City with evidently a bigger threat being posed compared to that of the reds of Manchester who are in poor and desperate form.

Attacking midfielders: Hazard, Oscar, Willian

This trio has been in an unstoppable form and Mourinho will hugely look into creating a free role for Eden Hazard who has been in superb form this season in terms of goals and assists. His evolution this season has been admired by Jose Mourinho himself. The other two Brazilians will have a huge role of feeding the striker and Hazard good balls so they can exploit the back four of Man City and create a chance to score. Oscar is likely in the run to be in the PFA team of the year and also for Chelsea’s player of the year as he is having a superb season under Jose Mourinho

Willian and Hazard’s pace up and down the wings will surely be crucial to the way we can create openings and pose a threat onto Joe Hart’s goal.

Striker: Samuel Eto’o

Fernando Torres will surely be missed on this fixture after his man of the match performance at Stamford Bridge sealed a victory against Manchester City earlier in the season. The Cameroonian compatriot of Torres though has notched a hat-trick against Manchester United recently and he is set to embarrass their noisy neighbors also at the Etihad on Monday. His movement between small areas of the pitch will be crucial to Chelsea finding spaces and areas to exploit from Manchester City’s tight defense composed of Kompany and Demechellis.

Here’s how my line-up would look like against Manchester City and feel free to comment and letting me know your opinion about this. Hope you enjoyed the article and good luck to Jose Mourinho’s men for this crucial match against the league leaders.

  1. fahmicfc360 says

    Reblogged this on fahmicfc360's Blog.

  2. akinwumi steven says

    If we mistakenly use that line up of yours,we don’t stand any chance especially in their pivot where they have Fernandinho and Yaya.Believe me we need Mikel tomorrow night cos he’s the only one who can handle Yaya very well!

    1. alexcfc8 says

      Matic can do that even better more mobile and better defensively than Mikel

  3. Jayde says

    Line up’s with an error only in the middle ( Ramires)..
    not that creative but strong…best pairs Luiz/ Mikel vs Man city. they both r creative in passing…both r equally better in defence & attack. One sits comfortably, the other navigates below the opponents 18 yrd box.

    1. Zyte says

      @ jayde,i tink u have a point.rami has playd more in dat pivot,yet his performanc has been clueles & dismal.always runing,but has very litle 2 show 4 it.jose know wat 2 do lets just watch & see.gud luck 2 cfc.2-1 in favour of cfc.

  4. Robben16 says

    We wait what JM plan to do this match. In Mourinho we trust!!!

  5. Dilpreet (@Dilpreet09) says

    i think matic can handle toure very well on our defensive end

  6. Fik says

    It is better to play either Matic or Mikeal rather than Luiz. His lack of care playing cost us. As we so z other 2 better in centeral Midfield except passing long balls to attakers. City MF is better than Liver pool & Man united so better holding midfielder is a must. Luiz playing in midfield is below average as I looked. Even Lampard is better than him in that position.

  7. Musthahzin says

    I think itz better to play Matic and Ramires.Coz Matic is deep laying defensive midfielder with fast movments on ball.Also he is good in keeping ball at feet.So it wil give us possession.It is how Bayern tackeld City.By not giving ball to them.

  8. chelsea lover says

    I won’t be suprised if Lampard should start this game. It would annoy me so much.

    Pivot for me would be either Matic-Mikel or Ramires-Mikel.

    David Luiz is a livewire, I dont trust him that much, not especially against city!

  9. Anonymous says

    torres is *10 expected in dis match than dat unexperienced eto

    1. alexcfc8 says

      Huh? This doesn’t even make sense

  10. ush says

    Mikel cannot handle yaya toure,only matic and luiz can,we don’t need mikel in that match

    1. adam says


  11. matt says

    Jose has always against big teams away from home lined us up as a 4-3-3 (arsenal away/man utd away even against teams like southampton). The former both were 0-0. So I expect Jose to do the same again.


    I personally would like to see us in this formation (4-3-3 / 4-2-1-3)

    Same back 4

    Reason I think if Luiz plays is his long passing is amazing and suits the over top pass to Ba.

    However I would like us to go at Man City (probs won’t happen but my starting 11)

    Personally i would like to see us go 4-2-3-1:
    Same as above apart from

    Subs Schurrle/Salah/luiz

  12. Anonymous says

    I think 4-3-3



  13. alexcfc8 says

    Schalke play a similar way to City just not as well and not as fluid, we need to shape up like we did agaist Schalke. Zabaleta will be up and down that right wing with Navas. Ivanovic will be better at RB as City cross more from their right meaning we need our best headers of the ball at the back post. Matic-Ramires over anyone else in our midfield as Matic is the only player with the consentration and mobility to stop Toure, Ramires is better as 1. he can run all day 2. He is a like for like with Fernandino. Now for the attacking trio we need are Hazard-Oscar-Schurrle. Schurrle needs to be on our left wing as he can exploit the space that will be left by Zabaleta, Hazard and Oscar can do their thing easily. For upfront I would go for Torres as he goes for space and behind the defense. It will have to Eto’o though



  14. Anonymous says

    Matic will be the bst chioce as he is deep laying defensive midfielder wit fast movement and also strong on the ground.

Comments are closed.