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Chelsea preview

How irksome that we have had the distraction of international week and having to wait almost two weeks for our first game post-takeover and post-Robinho signing.

Now that England have silenced the near hysterical media criticism with a win over Croatia (cue near hysterical media praise), we can get back to more pressing matters this weekend as the Billionaires-derby is upon us with suddenly money-laden and 'new-Chelsea' Manchester City host previously money-laden and 'old Chelsea', erm, Chelsea.

The press in this country could not have scripted this even better and whatever the outcome they will be onto a winner, either heralding the rise of a new power in English football or giving us a swift reality check should we crash to defeat.

It will be a relief to actually get the game underway therefore and it does have the potential to be a fantastic match - the hope being that it isn't flat in the wake of most of the players on display being away on international duty over the past ten days.

Our South American contingent will have jetted back in on a private jet for the game and whilst Zabaleta will likely slot in for the departed Corluka in defence, the status of Robinho is less clear. Given he has not yet met his teammates it would seem likely that he would start from the bench, but with Petrov's absence, Mark Hughes has speculated that he may throw him into the fray from the start.

It would open up a mouthwatering prospect of an attacking looking formation, potentially featuring Jo, Robinho, Elano and Shaun Wright-Phillips, although I do feel that Elano will become the odd man out on more than one occasion this season.

Our opponents have been held up as the model we are trying to emulate, but I think that whilst we can challenge for a top four spot, we are some way off the top two currently. Chelsea are still clearly a powerful side, with the majority of their Premier League winning side still remaining.

It will be a big blow of course for them that Michael Essien will be missing (for some time of course) as there isn't a side who would not gladly welcome him into their ranks. However, they still have the likes of Lampard, Ballack, Deco and Mikel to call upon but Essien will be sorely missed.

Old boy Nicolas Anelka is still struggling to shake off his critics, but we all know exactly what he is capable of and should Didier Drogba be fit this would be a huge boost for them on Saturday.

Drogba for me is an absolute beast and one of the best strikers I have seen come up against us, and is capable of causing serious problems, but it is worth noting that Richard Dunne (at home at least) has fared decently against him, but we cannot give afford them any quarter.

I'd imagine Hughes will line up with both Hamman and Kompany to nullify the attacking threat of Deco, Lampard and Ballack, augmented by a further three in midfield - likely Wright-Phillips, Ireland and Johnson (if fit) and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the same side that started against Sunderland, meaning of course Robinho starts from the bench.

Micah Richards could be a late doubt though with his shoulder injury and it would be a huge blow if he is absent, especially with two new full-backs likely in the side.

A full house of course and with a late afternoon kick off (which I am a fan of) the atmosphere should be good. I just wonder if given the build up surrounding the game, it may fail to match the hype (particularly, as I mentioned previously, in the aftermath of the international games).

Confidence is high for us though and I'm going to tip us to ride this confidence and come away with a 1-0 victory.