Premier League Tactical Preview: Manchester City vs Chelsea

Monday night’s live offering will be one to watch this week.

Manchester City have a 100% record at home and will host Chelsea, who are also within touching distance of the Premier League summit. City have already recorded resounding victories over Manchester United (4-1), Spurs (6-0) and Arsenal (6-3) and will be confident of beating Chelsea, who did however beat them in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

The Blues have been in a good run of form under Jose Mourinho, although they slipped up at home to West Ham midweek and as such cannot afford to lose versus City.


Possible line-ups


Manchester City will be without Sergio Aguero who picked up a hamstring injury against Spurs. City will bring in Alvaro Negredo to partner Edin Dzeko up front, with an otherwise similar line-up to the side that battered Spurs 5-1.


Chelsea, wary of the threat City possess going forward, will go with a reactive 4-5-1, opting for three centre midfielders, rather than their usual two. This will see Oscar drop to the bench with Nemanja Matic, Ramires and Frank Lampard in the centre of the park. 


City's rampant attack

The major worry for Chelsea is how brilliant Manchester City are going forward.

City have scored a ridiculous 68 goals in their 23 games, equating to 2.95 goals per game, 11 more goals than the second top scorers, Liverpool.

City's attacking form is so good that three of the top 10 goalscorers in the Premier League are their players, with Aguero, Negredo and Yaya Toure amassing 36 goals between them. 

Even with Aguero out, City have a whole host of attacking options capable of coming in and filling the void.

Dzeko found the net versus Spurs, as did Stevan Jovetic (his first in the Premier League since joining Manchester City). We should see a strike pairing of Negredo and Dzeko, who have 16 league goals between them. The creative presence of David Silva and the marauding runs of Toure are also two things to watch.

Toure scored his 12th goal of the campaign against Spurs, whilst Silva was in majestic creative form. He registered an assist on Aguero's opening goal and was at the heart of everything City did going forward, completing 93% of his passes in the process:


Silva kept City ticking over completing 66 passes, as we can see above, spreading the ball around with ease and bringing his team-mates into play.

City loosely play in a 4-4-2 but we see Silva drift into more central areas were he can create chances and get involved in the play, as he did against Spurs. Against Chelsea he will look to move in off the flanks and create, having made 52 chances for his team-mates already this season.

All things considered, we can be almost certain that Manchester City will score goals against Chelsea, no side has kept them out at the Etihad this season and they have only failed to score twice (both times on the road, at Stoke and Sunderland respectively).


Chelsea on the counter-attack

With City's attacking prowess clear for all to see, Chelsea will adopt a pragmatic counter-attacking approach in this tie.

Jose Mourinho is known to be reactive in big games, especially when playing away from home. Already this season Mourinho has overseen Chelsea keeping clean sheets at Arsenal and Manchester United.

Chelsea will set up in a 4-5-1 formation when they are without the ball, opting for three central midfielders, rather than the two they usually play with. 

The emphasis will be on keeping the midfield compact with Ramires, Matic and Lampard, and then playing the ball out through Eden Hazard and Willian on the flanks in order to get the counter-attack going.

Both Willian and Hazard are very quick players who can move on the ball effectively. No Premier League player has completed more dribbles this season than Hazard with 81. 

The speed of these two players on the break will be crucial for Chelsea, who will likely spend large parts of the game defending deep in their own half without the ball. Both players will have to work hard going the over way, as City tend to push their full-backs high up the pitch in order to add width to their attacks and stretch the play as much as possible.

Willian and Hazard then will be Chelsea's players to watch in this tie, as if Chelsea are to get any joy it will be through these players’ ability to break out of the back and initiate quick counter-attacks.

Ramires, Matic and Lampard will be looking to find them whenever Chelsea get the chance to break out.



With Manchester City's ridiculous goalscoring form in mind, Chelsea will have to adopt an incredibly reactive formation or risk being overrun by the most rampant attacking side in recent Premier League history.

Following Chelsea's 0-0 draw against West Ham they will be desperate to avoid defeat in a critical title decider, even with so much of the season left to play.

If Manchester City do see off the threat of Chelsea, they will be very, very difficult to catch in this title race. 

Bet now on Manchester City v Chelsea