England need Terry, City need Fernandinho but do Chelsea need Oscar? Unibet's Michael Da Silva breaks down the main talking points from the Etihad…
1. John Terry should play for England again
He may divide opinion – to put it lightly - but John Terry is still England’s best central defender. Last night he put in a mountainous display alongside the equally impressive Gary Cahill. Alvaro Negredo didn’t get a sniff, Edin Dzeko was anonymous and the fresh legs of Stevan Jovetic only offered fleeting hope for City, who found no way through a Chelsea wall led by Terry. The Chelsea skipper put in a vintage performance against the most potent attack in the land; this suggests the England national team would have a far better chance of success in Brazil this summer with the controversial defender in the team. Just no player revolts this time, eh JT?
2. City need Fernandinho
The jury is still out on Martin Demichelis as a defender, but there can be no argument about his unsuitability to the defensive midfield role, in which he was found wanting last night. With Fernandinho out injured, a certain Gareth Barry would have been the perfect replacement – even Jack Rodwell (remember him?) But instead, Demichelis was run ragged by the fluid movement and intelligent forward play of Willian, Hazard and Ramires. With a Champions League tie against Barcelona on the horizon, Manuel Pellegrini has learnt just how vital Fernandinho, who will be out for four weeks, is to his team.
3. No one can compete with Mourinho when it comes to mind games
Now Sir Alex is out of town, Jose Mourinho is the undisputed king of the mind game. His pre-match assertion that Manchester City have under-achieved during Sheikh Mansour’s five-year reign was the perfect way to plant the seed of doubt into City’s minds. Right on cue, City fail to score at the Etihad for the first time since Birmingham foiled them back in 2010 and produce a display that puts them on the back foot in the race for the Premier League. But now Mourinho is at it again, already claiming that Arsenal and City remain ‘bigger and stronger horses’ against the ‘little horse’ that is Chelsea. The Happy One loves to horse around, but deep down he knows that Chelsea landed a massive psychological blow last night.
4. Eden Hazard is unstoppable
Hazard has been producing match-winning performances for weeks now, but last night was one of his best in a Chelsea shirt. The key outlet for Chelsea, Hazard was at his effortless best. He glided past the usually excellent Pablo Zabaleta more than once and was the heartbeat of a pulsating Chelsea display. Luis Suarez has had an exemplary season so far for Liverpool, but this fleet-footed Belgian will run him very close for the Footballer of the Year award.
5. Mourinho knows his best midfield – and it doesn’t include Oscar
Some eyebrows were raised when Oscar was left on the bench, but the decision was vindicated. Oscar was left out against Arsenal and again at City, which suggests Mourinho will opt for the Hazard–Willian Ramires axis for the big games, with Nemanja Matic, who boasted 85% pass completion – more than any other Chelsea player – and David Luiz protecting the back four. Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel will have to join Oscar in accepting that Mourinho’s first-choice midfield doesn’t include them. And we all know how Juan Mata took that news.
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