Manchester City v Chelsea - Five key battles

Joe Hart against Petr Cech, Yaya Toure against Nemanja Matic and more.

Chelsea travel to Manchester City this evening in a huge Premier League clash, which will be influential in the Premier League title race.

It will be fascinating to watch the tactics Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho uses as he tries to numb the flamboyant attacking influence that City have and how he tries to counter the Premier League’s top scorers.

There are going to be individual battles breaking out all over the pitch and we’ve taken a look at the key clashes to keep an eye on.

Joe Hart v Petr Cech

Whoever has the better evening is more likely to be on the winning side.

Both goalkeepers are capable of producing world class saves from a variety of positions, as well as setting up counter attacks in a split second.

Cech could possibly have more work to do in terms of shot stopping but he has the experience and quality to cope.

Vincent Kompany v Samuel Eto’o

Chelsea need Eto’o to have the sort of game he had against Manchester United.

Kompany will probably try to match up against him because he has the physical edge. Eto’o can counter that with his pace and movement across the back four, switching between the centre backs to give the Belgian a headache.

Pablo Zabaleta v Eden Hazard

Hazard is one of Chelsea’s biggest threats and a world class attacker who can rip through the heart of this Manchester City defence.

Zabaleta plays on Hazard’s side and will need to be careful not to drift inside with the Belgian, which would leave a hole in behind for the left-back to exploit when he can get forward.

If Zabaleta can close out that side, he should make Hazard easier for others to contain.

Yaya Toure v Nemanja Matic

Toure will use every bit of his power and pace to burst through Chelsea’s midfield.

Matic is the man who will sit and protect the defence, looking for the deep runs from the Manchester City midfield.

Matic has to be up for the fight and he has to be up for getting stuck in. Toure won’t back down so there could be some big physical hits during the 90 minutes.

Alvaro Negredo v John Terry

Expect to see Negredo drift onto Terry’s side if the Chelsea defender starts in the back four.

Terry has the physical game to match up against Negredo, but the City man will look to exploit the lack of pace in behind.

Chelsea can counter that tactic if the full back stays alert and is available to cover should Negredo get the better of the Chelsea icon.

image: © marc_tacoma

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