Manchester City v Chelsea: Match Preview

22 February 2013 04:31

Manchester City will be looking to reignite their title challenge rather than focusing on maintaining second spot when Chelsea visit the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

The reigning champions' defence of their Premier League title has faltered in recent weeks and a run of three games without a win has seen City slip 12 points behind rivals Manchester United. City could be 15 points adrift of their local rivals come kick-off on Sunday as United face bottom club Queens Park Rangers 24 hours earlier.

Roberto Mancini was extremely critical of his players after the 3-1 defeat at Southampton in their last league game and he saw a positive response in the 4-0 victory over Leeds United in the FA Cup last weekend to maintain an impressive home record.

Only Manchester United have won at the Etihad in the league this season and City have won their last three home games against Chelsea.

A late surge for the title appears to be beyond Chelsea, but overhauling City for second is within reach and there is likely to be little to separate the teams on Sunday. Chelsea could be just one point behind City after this weekends game.

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany remains a doubt for the champions' Premier League game with Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The Belgium defender has missed four games with a calf injury and manager Roberto Mancini admits the problem is taking longer to heal than expected. He will however have a late fitness test prior to the game.

Meanwhile, Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard will feature after being rested against Sparta Prague on Thursday night. Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic are in a similar position whilst Demba Ba also returns after being cup-tied.

Probable Line Up: Manchester City

Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Joleon Lescott, Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy; Yaya Toure, Javi Garcia; David Silva, Sergio Aguero, James Milner, Edin Dzeko.

Probable Line Up: Chelsea

Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole; Frank Lampard, Ramires, Victor Moses, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Demba Ba.

Source: DSG