EPL 2012 13: Chelsea vs Manchester City Preview

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EPL: Chelsea vs Manchester City Preview
London, Nov 23: Rafa Benitez will take charge of his first match as Chelsea manager hosting the Premier League champions Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

In one of the most anticipated games of the season, Chelsea are currently third in the league while City are on top spot. But both teams have struggled in Europe with City crashing out of the competition after a draw against Real Madrid on Wednesday while holders Chelsea were thrashed 3-0 by Juventus.

The shocking result in Europe and poor run in the Premier League saw Roberto Di Matteo being sacked just six months after winning the Champions League. Chelsea appointed former Liverpool manager Benitez as their first-team boss on Wednesday.

Recent results have not gone in Chelsea's favour, failing to win in four league matches. The Blues are currently on a 2-4-2 record in the league and have suffered back-to-back losses after the loss at the Hawthorns against West Brom Albion.

Roberto Mancini's side are yet to taste defeat this term but Chelsea, who showed promising signs at the start of the season, have fallen drastically in terms of wins and consistency.

Both sides will leave their Champions League woes behind them and try to strengthen their position in the Premier League.

Fernando Torres, who was benched in the loss against Juventus, is expected to start upfront with Daniel Sturridge recovering from injury.

Chelsea certainly miss the presence of their talisman and captain John Terry at the back. Benitez may be forced to drop David Luiz after his sloppy performance in the last two games. Branislav Ivanovic could partner Gary Cahill while Cesar Azpilicueta is likely to play at right-back.

The Blues will also miss veteran midfielder Frank Lampard due to calf injury.

On the other hand, Manchester City, unlike Chelsea, have plenty of options upfront with four strikers Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli.

Tevez is expected to make the starting XI after being brought on as a substitute during Wednesday's Champions League match. Apart from Micah Richards, Mancini has a full squad to choose for the trip to London.


*Manchester City beat Chelsea 3-2 in the Community Shield in August.

*City are currently on top of the table with 28 points, Chelsea are third with 24 points.

*City are still unbeaten in this league.

Probable Lineups:

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech-Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole-Mikel, Ramires-Mata, Oscar, Hazard-Torres.

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart-Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov-Nasri, Y Toure, Barry, Silva-Tevez, Aguero.

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