Chelsea vs Manchester City
– Manchester City travel to Chelsea in arguably the standout fixture in the Premier League this weekend.
– John Terry’s contract situation is becoming a hotly discussed topic down at Stamford Bridge, but if the skipper continues to perform at the level he did on Saturday, an extension will be a no-brainer. Terry cleared the ball 11 times against Cardiff – the third most clearances in the league. No other player in the Chelsea squad has made more clearances than Terry’s 59 this season.
– It must be reassuring for Chelsea fans that they have a like-for-like replacement for Ashley Cole, once the left back decides to call it a day. Young Ryan Bertrand has proved his worth for Chelsea time and time again, including in their 2012 Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich, and he was impressive again on Saturday completing a pass in Cardiff’s half every 1.8 minutes.
– Eden Hazard’s contentious first goal against the Bluebirds should take nothing away from his overall impressive performance. In addition to his two goals, the Belgian completed 4 dribbles – the second most in the league. So far this season, no Chelsea player has completed more dribbles than the former Lille man. Hazard is 15/2 with 888sport.com to score the last goal of the game on Saturday.
– Jose Mourinho will be relieved that both Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres are rediscovering their goalscoring touch, with Eto’o registering his first goal for the club against Cardiff, and Torres scoring two in the Champions League. This will be music to Chelsea fan’s ears as prior to these goals, the duo had only hit the target with 60% and 50% of their shots.
– Chelsea fans will be pleased to see that Juan Mata has been brought back into the fold be Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea manager has praised Mata’s work ethic, and it appears that Mourinho’s faith has been rewarded as the Spaniard has completed a pass in the opposition half every 2.4 minutes this season.
– An inspired performance from Sergio Aguero guided Manchester City to victory over West Ham on Saturday.
– The Argentinean is a player that Chelsea should be wary of, as it appears that he is back to his imperious best. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows that the Argentinean has either scored or assisted 10 goals this season. This is more than any other player in the league. Aguero is 5/1 with 888sport.com to open the scoring on Saturday.
– Another player who wasn’t quite at the races last term, but also appears to be finding form again is midfield maestro David Silva. The Spanish playmaker completed 56 passes in West Ham’s half on Saturday, with only Steven Gerrard completing more.
– Some critics have been skeptical of Pellegrini’s releuctance to depart from his 4-4-2 formation, with Yaya Toure and Fernandinho pulling the strings in the centre of the park. However, by examining the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index passing statistics, it appears that Yaya has thrived in the current setup. No other player has completed as many passes in the opposition half as the 335 completed by Toure.
– Joleon Lescott was an essential component in Roberto Mancini’s title winning team of 2011/2012, but since the arrival of Matija Nastasic at the Etihad, the English centre half has struggled to get a game. However, when examining their relative tackling statistics this season, it isn’t hard to see why. Nastasic has a far superior success rate, completing 75% of his challenges in comparison to Lescott’s 60%.
– Fernandinho has made a solid, if not spectacular start to life in Manchester, but one area in which he has thrived is in the interception department. No other Manchester City player has completed as many interceptions as Fernandindo’s 15.