One of two huge FA Cup ties in the fifth round, Chelsea’s visit to Man City, is Saturday’s biggest game and is live on ITV1 for UK viewers. It’s sure to be an enthralling match and with City still smarting from their recent home defeat in the Premier League they are certain to be out for revenge. Read on for our preview and analysis of this exciting fixture.
The teams played each other on the 3rd February and amid predictions that Jose Mourinho would “park the bus” and play for a draw against a then seemingly unstoppable City, the Pensioners played superbly and got the win. It was 1-0 but though the home side had the lion’s share of possession, Mourinho’s men thrice hit the woodwork and executed their counter attacking plan superbly.
Since then the Citizens have stumbled, drawing 0-0 at Norwich and dropping further off the title pace when their game with Sunderland was postponed on Wednesday due to the bad weather. To some extent both teams will be glad to put the pressure of the league behind them here and we could see an open, attacking game, as indeed we did at the start of the month.
City are clearly missing Sergio Aguero and, good as Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo are, it is the Argentine who brings real X factor to the squad. However, they are unlikely to stutter for long and one has to consider their overall home record when assessing this game. The loss to Chelsea was their first home defeat of the campaign and only their fifth since the 2009-2010 campaign in the league. They are formidable at the Etihad and just because Chelsea have managed to win their once (as well as winning the league clash at the Bridge earlier in the season) it does not mean it will be easy second time round.
Though Mourinho holds a very good record against City’s Chilean boss Manuel Pellegrini from their days in Spain, the wily former Malaga boss will have learned from the most recent contest and his tactics are sure to be subtly different this time around. Of course, that could lead to a more muted affair, with neither side keen to overexpose themselves but we think with the shackles of the Premier League off, as the game wears on it is certain to come to life.
There is just too much quality on show for goals not to be scored and once either side breaks the deadlock the other will be forced into action. Overall we think that home advantage will be crucial, although with City facing Barcelona shortly after this game (the Blues’ Champions League campaign does not resume until the 26th) Pellegrini may well be tempted to rest key players. However, City’s second string managed to win at Bayern Munich and so must not be underestimated and, sadly, we think Chelsea’s FA Cup campaign ends here.
LCN Verdict: Manchester City 2 – 1 Chelsea