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David Thompson 11th Dec 2011 - 13:32

The press won't Mata come Monday night


Chelsea v Manchester City

Monday 20:00 - live on Sky Sports 1

Andre Villas-Boas and his 'persecuted' side have a chance of closing the gap on the unbeaten league leaders when Manchester City visit the Bridge Monday night. Villas-Boas was very vocal when he criticised the media for piling on the pressure to his team during their recent bad run whilst in contrast they were very lenient towards the Manchester clubs who've both slipped into the Europa League after poor performances in the group stages of the Champions League. One gets the impression that the talented Chelsea manager has the bit between his teeth and has seen his side through their initial bad patch. The Jose Mourinho style players are still struggling to adapt to the new attacking and free flowing style of the young Portuguese manager, however, with clever squad rotation and the introduction of a few creative players like Mata and Meireles results and beginning to be achieved.

Nonetheless The Blues remain 10 points off Manchester City and a defeat at Stamford Bridge could signal an end to their title challenge for the season. Mancini's side are still averaging over three goals per game in the league and no team has been able to work out how to counteract their star player David Silva (10/3 anytime). The little Spaniard has created 41 chances for his side with eight of those being converted making him the player with the most assists in the league.

Chelsea must go into the game without hot-headed David Luiz. The attacking centre half is serving a one match ban for picking up five yellow cards, and without his pace, the like of David Silva (9/1 first goalscorer), Dzeko (13/2 first goalscorer) and Aguero (6/4 anytime) will look to get in behind the high line of the Chelsea back four. Meanwhile City will be without Micah Richards and Aleksandar Kolarov, so expect Ashley Cole (20/1 anytime) to come marauding past Juan Mata (10/3 anytime) down the left and for Daniel Sturridge to continue in his new role on the right flank.

The young England prospect has been a revelation since Villas-Boas has arrived at Chelsea, the manager's faith in him over some of the bigger names has been rewarded with consistent performances no matter who the opposition. Arguable Sturridge has become the go to man at Chelsea since his switch to right wing, and you can back him as a 6/1 first goalscorer or 7/4 anytime.

Chelsea have conceded 11 goals in their seven games at home and that record will worry fans considering the league's most prolific team are coming to town. Manchester City have scored in every Premier League game this season, therefore William Hill have enhanced the price for the Citizens to fail to score from 2/1 to 5/2 as our Match Winner special offer. Can Chelsea's leaky defence produce a Mourinho style lock out against one of the best attacks in world football?

Looking at the history books everything points in favour of the hosts. Man City have only won twice at Stamford Bridge in 14 Premier League games and that could explain the rather tempting 15/8 available on the league leaders. Personally history shouldn't dictate much in this one, both sides have gone through huge changes recently, Man City will want to give their fans and employees something to shout about after their failure in the Champions League whilst Villas-Boas and Chelsea will want to prove that they can compete on all fronts. Everyone will be expecting goals come Monday night but so do the bookies, with over 2.5 goals at 8/11 and both teams to score at 8/13, I would rather take a chance on the 9/2 available for Manchester City to be the only scoring side in the game.



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