Predicted Manchester City XI to play Chelsea - Lescott to slot into a back four

Chelsea Logo - Stamford Bridge Tunnel

Match to be played on Sunday 27th October 2013 at 16:00. Venue: Stamford Bridge, London.

Manchester City produced a respectable and professional performance in difficult conditions against CSKA Moscow, which went a long way to showing they can grind out results as much as they can play the opposition off the park.

City currently sit fourth in the Premier League, just three points away from Arsenal at the top of the table and they can close the gap on the Gunners, as well as leapfrogging Chelsea, if they bat Jose Mourinho’s men this weekend.

Manuel Pellegrini has a couple of selection dilemmas ahead of the game such as he decides whether to stick with the 3-5-2 formation used against CSKA. Here’s the side he could go with.

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GK – Joe Hart

Hart should continue in goal and he slowly seems to be getting his confidence back. Hart made a couple of errors in the Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich but since then he’s responded tremendously and is the undoubted number one at the club.

RB – Pablo Zabaleta

City are unlikely to play three at the back against Chelsea due to the number of attacking threats the London side possess. The big games require experienced players, which means Zabaleta has to play. He’s one of the best leaders in the team and he’s vital in keeping the defence organised.

CB – Matija Nastasic

Nastasic is still searching for his best form but he’s shown that he is capable of a big performance at the club. He’ll be under a lot of pressure as Fernando Torres is likely to switch between central defenders which means Nastasic has to retain his composure and discipline.

CB – Joleon Lescott

Pellegrini cannot risk playing Javi Garcia in the heart of the defence for such an important game. Lescott is more than capable of stepping in and doing a good job in the back four.

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LB – Aleksandar Kolarov

Kolarov showed during the demolition of Manchester United, he can produce a big performance in the big games against the biggest teams. He’s solid defensively and can get up the left wing to provide an extra outlet for the midfield. He’ll also be very important on the counter attack.

RM – Jesus Navas

Navas is arguably the best wide player at the club. He’s the perfect player to use to exploit space, which will be created when the Chelsea left-back goes forward and he’s quick enough to beat any of Chelsea’s defenders inside their final third.

CM – Yaya Toure

Toure is one of City’s big game players, an experienced player who demands the best from his teammates on these sorts of occasions. Expect to see him adopting more of a holding role if City are under pressure but he’s proved so many times that he can be effective going forward.

CM – Fernandinho

Fernandinho has made a decent start to life as a City player and he looks comfortable in the heart of their midfield. He’ll probably play s the more advanced midfielder, able to drop back when needed.

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LM – David Silva

Silva has to play on the left because City are going to need players in this game who can control possession and protect the ball. Silva can drift anywhere across the midfield and he can tuck inside with the left-back pushing forward if Pellegrini wants to revert to a 3-5-2 during the game.

ST – Sergio Aguero

Aguero doesn’t go missing in the big games and he should lead the attack. He’ll be the player slightly off the front, looking to work with the midfield before racing in behind. He’s also now proven that he’s got an aerial threat.

ST – Alvaro Negredo

Negredo is a big, tough and physical striker who will be ready to work hard in this game. He’ll be aiming to occupy both of Chelsea’s central defenders, pinning them back which creates more space in front of the Chelsea back four to be exploited by other players.

What do you think? Should Garcia be in the team? Should Pellegrini go back to 4-4-2?

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