Chelsea v Man City

18 March 2011 12:09
Chelsea defender Alex is in line to make his long-awaited return from a knee injury against Manchester City.Yossi Benayoun is close to returning from the serious Achilles problem that has sidelined him since September, but Sunday's game will come too soon.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is threatening to leave out Mario Balotelli following the striker's costly red card against Dynamo Kiev.

Winger Adam Johnson is available after recovering from an an ankle injury.



Chelsea

Doubtful: Alex (knee) Injured: Benayoun (Achilles)

Man City

Injured/unavailable: Given (shoulder), K Toure (suspended)



MATCH PREVIEW English football's biggest spenders meet at Stamford Bridge with neither side ready to concede defeat in the Premier League title race just yet.

The atmosphere now is really good. Sunday will be very important for us, for City - a very difficult game for both teams. We have to be ready to try to win Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti Chelsea are in one of Carlo Ancelotti's 'good moments', a place in the Champions League quarter-finals secure and their title challenge reawoken. January's £70m spending spree has had a galvanising effect, despite a lacklustre start to Fernando Torres's Stamford Bridge career. How quickly the Spaniard can settle will surely define the rest of the Blues' season.

For Manchester City, the FA Cup now seems their most realistic source of silverware following Thursday's Europa League exit, but a first league title in 43 years remains within their grasp. Roberto Mancini's side go into the match two points ahead of the champions, albeit having played a game more, but with just nine games left to overhaul Manchester United and Arsenal, the odds are clearly stacked against them.

City have only taken two points from their last four away matches, but have a good recent record against Chelsea with three successive victories. Mancini also enjoyed the upper hand over Ancelotti during their time in charge of Internazionale and AC Milan, with four wins to two in the league as Inter claimed three successive Serie A crowns under Mancini.



MATCH FACTS Head-to-head

• City had only won two out of 24 Premier League meetings with Chelsea before last season, but have now won three in a row against the Blues.

• Last season's corresponding fixture will be remembered for Wayne Bridge's refusal to shake John Terry's hand before kick-off. City won the game 4-2, ending Chelsea's 37-match unbeaten home run.

• Carlos Tevez has scored six goals in his last five Premier League games against Chelsea.

Chelsea

• Carlo Ancelotti's side haven't won back-to-back league fixtures at Stamford Bridge since November, and have only won three of their last seven Premier League home games.

• The Blues have dropped just four points from winning positions - a record matched only by Stoke.

• Chelsea and City have won a joint-high eight penalties each this season in the Premier League.

Man City

• City haven't won away from home in any competition since Boxing Day, a run of eight games.

• They haven't won back-to-back league games in 2011.

• Roberto Mancini has taken charge of 50 Premier League matches: W26, D13, L11.

• City have conceded 699 goals in Premier League history.



LEADING GOALSCORERS

Chelsea

Anelka: 16 goals (6 league); Drogba & Malouda: 10 goals (9 league); Kalou: 10 goals (7 league)



Man City

Tevez: 21 goals (18 league); Balotelli: 10 goals (6 league)



MATCH OFFICIALS Referee: Chris Foy

Assistant referees: Darren Cann & John Flynn

Fourth official: Mike Dean



LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS Chelsea (W3-1 v Blackpool, a): Cech, Bosingwa, Terry, Zhirkov (Malouda 72), Cole, Luiz, Lampard, Ramires (McEachran 75), Essien, Drogba (Kalou 55), Torres. Subs not used: Anelka, Ivanovic, Turnbull, Ferreira.

Man City (W1-0 v Wigan, h): Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta, Vieira, Barry, Silva (De Jong 83), Toure Yaya, Balotelli (Kolarov 68), Tevez (Dzeko 86). Subs not used: Taylor, Boateng, Jo, Boyata.

Source: BBC_Sport