Electric, is arguably the word which comes close to explaining the audacity of a fixture which includes two heavyweights of English football, Chelsea and Manchester City. Both, Manchester City and Chelsea suffered ‘shame’ in their respective FA Cup encounters and will be looking to prove a point, when they ram head against each other on 31st January. Both contingents will miss stellar players capable of weaving magic. For Manchester City losses come no bigger than the exclusion of Yaya Toure, who is absconding (seems to be the right word) due to AFCON, similarly Chelsea will be without the services of Deigo Costa, who is expected to face a ban (Suarez me!). Nonetheless, hot talents, arguably some of the best in Europe, will be on display when these two champions, clash swords.
While Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini, will be vigorously scheming a plan for each others failure, we decided to take a look at Three Key Battles, which could decide the course of the game.
Can Aguero’s fluidity thwart Terry’s solidity ?
Aguero versus Terry, seems to be an age old classic battle between an imposing center half and an agile center forward. While, Aguero has been in red hot form this season, Terry is arguably the best center back, currently, in the Premier League ( we know Vincent Kompany disagrees). Nonetheless, this age old classic, will certainly garner interest as it will be an acid test for both Aguero and Terry. Terry’s lack of pace was exposed against Sadio Mane of Southampton and Aguero will be hoping to do a Mane against a Mertersacker-esque Terry. For Aguero, form could be a worry. After bouncing back from injury, Aguero has failed to weave his magic and has failed to be a driving force. His uncanny performance in City’s FA Cup loss was evidence enough of his fluttery form. Nonetheless, both Aguero and Terry are perhaps prima donna, in their field of work and their clash, could perhaps decide the course of this game.
Will Silva’s magic be bewitched by a sorcerer named Matic ?
David Silva, is many things but physical. A Spanish boon to the Premier League and most importantly a changer of games for Manchester City, Silva’s ability to stand his ground, will be tested when he faces an imposing presence in Nemanja Matic. Although, Silva has the ability to drift towards the wings during the course of the game, Mourinho could hatch a plot to nullify his services by enabling Matic, to man-mark him. Matic’s brilliant tactical approach and his ability to intercept ball, could prove to be a force to reckon with for the little Spaniard. Both, Silva and Matic have been clogs of utmost importance for their respective teams. While one dissects defenses into two, the other glues it together. Perhaps, it will be a treat to watch how these contrasting figures, ply their trades and most importantly how well they perform.
Battle for the flanks: Hazard vs Zabaleta and Willian vs Clichy
There is little and close to no introduction needed for a player of Eden Hazard’s caliber. The fleet footed Belgian has been a thorn for Premier League defenses and his Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta, stands next his ‘thorny’ approach. Hazard’s ability to cast a spell over defense has worked thus far in the Premier League, against the reliability of Zabaleta, it remains to be seen. Nonetheless, an enticing battle between a classic full back, who is known for his hardwork and an electric winger, is set to rage.
Danger bells, in the form of Juan Cuadrado, are ringing for Willian. The Brazilian could be usurped by the Colombian, who is expected to join Chelsea soon. Nonetheless, Willian, will be a part of Chelsea’s squad against Manchester City and by the looks of it, the Brazilian could enjoy acres of vacated space when he fights his war against former Gunner Gael Clichy.