Chelsea vs Manchester City: Early thoughts and questions 1

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Sunday is the first time we’ll see two title-contending sides go head-to-head, and it will be an insight into exactly where these two sides are in relation to one another.

It could be interesting, or it could be the dismal, ambition-less contest that last year’s game turned out to be - either way, here are a couple of considerations ahead of the match-up:

- Ashley Cole is listed as doubtful for this game, and so if he does play it’s unlikely that he’ll be at 100%. Jose Mourinho is left, then, with a big decision - play an underdone Cole against Jesus Navas’ pace and trickery, or stick with Ryan Bertrand. Both have clear disadvantages, and so that’s likely to be a key battle.

- Fernando Torres took both of his goals really well on Tuesday night, and that should be enough to give him a start in this game. City are without Vincent Kompany, and so by opting for the Spaniard instead of Samuel Eto’o, Mourinho would be asking far more questions of his opponents high-up the pitch than he would be with the deeper-lying tendencies of the Cameroon. Torres provides the more orthodox offensive pivot, and that would set Chelsea up better to exploit City’s current frailties.

- As discussed here, Joe Hart’s late, points-preserving save in Khimki will likely have done the England goalkeeper’s confidence the power of good, and so it will be interesting to see how his performance reflects that in a marquee game.

- There were moments against Norwich, when Chelsea did not look in any way secure defensively: David Luiz, in particular, started showing worrying tendencies of reverting to some of his more negative habits. While Chris Hughton’s side didn’t really have the potency to punish their opponents’ issues, Manchester City definitely do, and Luiz and John Terry’s ability to handle Sergio Aguero’s movement and Alvaro Negredo’s increasingly impressive link-play will be a big feature of this game.

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