Robbie Savage picks a winner from Chelsea-City clash, defends Diego Costa

Diego Costa Chelsea

Football pundit Robbie Savage looks ahead to Saturday evening’s top-of-the-table clash between Chelsea and Manchester City.

Outspoken football pundit Robbie Savage has backed Chelsea to beat Manchester City on Saturday evening and has defended the actions of banned striker Diego Costa, according to his column in the Daily Mirror.

The Blues host second-placed Manchester City in undoubtedly the most intriguing Premier League clash of the weekend due to the forthcoming effects it will have on the title race.

There are currently five points separating the two heading into the clash at Stamford Bridge and Manuel Pellegrini’s men simply can’t afford to lose.

However, the absence of Yaya Toure - on African Cup of Nations duty - is hampering their title challenge and Robbie Savage believes Manchester City are destined to tail off the pace without the Ivorian.

“Toure is the heartbeat of the champions' midfield, their driving force; it is no coincidence that City have not won a game since he went away on international duty,” he commented in his blog with the Mirror.

“I think the gap at the top will be back to eight points before the month is out and there will be no catching Chelsea from there.”

Jose Mourinho will have to face the challenge of Manchester City without Chelsea's leading goalscorer Diego Costa, after the striker received a three-match ban for stamping during the recent Capital One Cup semi-final win over Liverpool.

The former Atletico Madrid favourite escaped a red card, rather fortunately, but the FA decided to take action after the match following a thorough review of the incident.

Savage, however, has come to the defence of the striker and believes his aggression is what makes him the player he is today.

“Without glamorising excess aggression, I loved the way Costa got stuck into Liverpool. I loved the way he got involved in some argy-bargy with Steven Gerrard,” he added.

“If you took away that gunslinger's psyche, the player who lives right on the edge of confrontation, Costa would not be as effective. I hope he does not curb his aggression.

“Whenever Costa comes back, I expect him to fire Chelsea to the title - and to be more careful where he lands.”

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