Everyone other than Crystal Palace fans expect Arsenal to win convincingly at the Emirates Stadium tonight. But the game of the week will be Manchester City hosting Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.
Team Morale and standings:
It will be highly impractical of Mourinho to employ his tactics of a draw at away matches against strong teams. Even with a win on Monday night, Chelsea will remain at the third position behind City on goal difference. Chelsea need to be wary of the fact that they were forced to draw at lowly West Ham in their last game, that will be a major cause of concern.
Manuel Pellegrini on the other hand will have to win this crucial tie in order to remain league leaders. A loss or a draw will see them slide to the second position and that might just have a negative impact on team morale. City’s morale continues to be high after a dominating win at White Hart Lane in their last game.
Supposing Crystal Palace secure a fluke win against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City both have the opportunity of getting above Arsenal in the table and neither manager will want to let go of that opportunity.
Mourinho’s desperation for a win is evident with the sly mind games that even got the best of Sir Alex Ferguson in the past. Mourinho has suggested that City are on a winning run due to favourable officiating. Goals have been ruled out as offsides when Manchester City played against Spurs, Liverpool and Newcastle referring to which Mourinho said, ”They are lucky. The reality is they have many crucial decisions in their favour.”
Tactics and threats:
Mourinho having perfected the art of stopping a free-flowing game during his days in Spain, the game might be subjected to lots of tackles, free kicks and cards as well. Pellegrini’s nimble attackers will find it a tough time to do usual business and Aguero’s absence might just cause them to drop points at home.
Although Toure,Jesus Navas, Negredo,Fernandinho and Dzeko will possess a threat but with Mourinho’s tactical brilliance all of them will be marked very closely.
Manchester City will be playing with revenge on their minds. They had lost 2-1 at Stamford Bridge with a late clincher by Fernando Torres who will be missing the match. Pellegrini will have to employ strong marking on Hazard, Schurlle and E’to but Lampard and Ramirez can’t be left out either.
Joe Hart will have to be on his toes tomorrow night as he might find long shots from Lampard flying over the defenders looking for an opening. With just five goals in his tally this season, the 35-year-old, would be looking to get a few more goals in what could be his final season for the Blues.
Petr Cech can’t rest on the other side either as Zabaleta and Company have uncanny habits of finding the net now and then. Combined with Toure’s accuracy and City’s adept attack, Cech will have a busy day at the office as well.
My prediction is a draw. A 1-1 result is highly probable along with a red card being shown since there is a lot of tension revolving this match. City attackers will need some magnificent game play to clinch the match from the Chelsea brigade.