Manchester City v Chelsea - Five key battles for the FA Cup clash

Joe Hart v Petr Cech, Vincent Kompany v Fernando Torres and more.

Manchester City host Chelsea in one of the higher profile FA Cup games this weekend with both sides likely to rest key players ahead of important Champions League games next week.

City are widely accepted as having one of the biggest squads in England while Jose Mourinho has the intelligence to get the maximum out of any fringe players he uses from the start.

We’ve taken a look at five key battles to keep an eye on during the game.

Joe Hart v Petr Cech

The battle of the goalkeepers is going to be an important one because this could be a very tight game.

Chances could be hard to come by which means the goalkeepers need to be switched on and concentrating during the key moments to keep their sides in the game and to give them an edge.

Vincent Kompany v Fernando Torres

Kompany will want to lead from the back and that means closing out the sole striker that Chelsea choose to start.

That’s likely to be Torres who will try and pull the Belgian out of position during the game, moving across the back four and trying to create space for the creative midfielders in Chelsea’s team to exploit.

James Milner v Frank Lampard

This should be a fascinating battle to watch between two very different players.

Lampard will try and pull the strings in midfield, control the tempo and get forward during the game when he can.

Pellegrini has recently used Milner in a central role, which means the City boss could task him with marking Lampard, preventing him from making those runs from deep which he’s famous for.

Jesus Navas v Ashley Cole

If Mourinho rests players then Cole could come in for Cesar Azpilicueta.

Navas does have the pace and trickery to put Cole onto the back foot. It will be interesting to see how Cole copes because he’s not had a lot of first team football in recent weeks and could hence be a little rusty.

Edin Dzeko v David Luiz

David Luiz should relish this sort of game but Dzeko may view him as someone he can get the better of an exploit.

The City striker will try and force him into make rash decisions and taking big risks which compromise Chelsea’s back four. Dzeko could also try and make the game an overly physical contest to try and draw Luiz into committing fouls.

image: © wshjackson

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