Chelsea host Manchester City in what will be a battle between the bookies’ two favourites to win the Premier League and a real chance for both teams to get their season kick started.
Neither side has played their best football but have been picking up the points and once they hit form I reckon they’ll be the most dominant sides in the division over the campaign.
Ashley Cole could be fit after sitting out the last couple of games with a rib injury and Jose Mourinho will have to decide whether to recall David Luiz or keep Gary Cahill, who played well against Schalke, in the side.
The visitors will be without their captain and main defender Vicent Kompany as he is suffering a thigh problem whilst Martin Demichelis is not yet fit enough to make his debut for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Predicted Chelsea XI:
B. Ivanovic – D. Luiz – J. Terry – A. Cole
Ramires – J. Mikel
Oscar – J. Mata – E. Hazard
I think Luiz will be back in for this one despite the recent good form of Cahill for club and country but the Brazilian made several glaring errors this season and Mourinho will remind him that it won’t be tolerated for long. I prefer Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back but he isn’t getting the opportunities this season.
In recent history Manchester City have won the crucial battles in the middle of the park…well, Yaya Toure has pretty much dominated our midfield on his own before and Fernandinho did something similar against us in the Champions League last year. Frank Lampard never fares very well against Toure so I would leave him out of this one. John Obi Mikel will be more disciplined defensively whilst Ramires has bags of energy and is far better suited to a box-to-box role than the deep role he occupies when alongside Lamps.
Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard are our best attacking midfielders, whilst Hazard is a real danger man and Oscar has come on leaps and bounds since Mourinho took charge.
After his performance against Schalke in midweek and Mourinho’s delight with his tenacity during the derby against Tottenham it would be difficult to imagine Fernando Torres being left out now. He’s finally got some momentum going and he needs to improve his fortunes in front of goal before he’s truly ‘back’.