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Chelsea v City preview

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It seems that the game of football at Stamford Bridge is almost secondary to the Terry/Bridge media focus given the decision by Wayne Bridge to eschew the almost certain prospect of a place in England's World Cup squad this summer.

That is a shame because it is an important game for both sides in their respective quests, and has the potential to be a fantastic spectacle - and one that can hopefully match the encounter from earlier in the season.

The defeat at Stoke has not done much for dampening the media focus on recent 'troubles' at the club and although the media glare in Serie A is tough, Roberto Mancini is probably now finding out what it is like to manage in the Premier League.

Looking to the game, a trip to Stamford Bridge is hardly the ideal fixture if you are struggling for a little confidence of form and this is particularly so given the weight of history that is against us.

The facts are stark. We have failed to score in our last seven away trips to Stamford Bridge and have a horrific record in general against them. We have now won only one of our last eleven away games in the league. Chelsea have taken 37 points from 39 at home and have kept twelve clean sheets this season. Ominous stuff.

Yet it is interesting to look back earlier in the season at how we beat Chelsea to see if there are pointers as to how we could come away with the points tomorrow. That day, we had plenty of pace and attacking movement in the side. Tevez and Adebayor were augmented by Wright-Phillips and Robinho and some of our play that day was of high quality. Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong were also dominant that day, winning the midfield battle (and launching de Jong's excellent season after a spell on the sidelines).

Can we expect the same tomorrow? It is doubtful Roberto Mancini will be so bold. Options are again limited. Adebayor's suspension rules him out, whilst there is question marks over the fitness of Roque Santa Cruz and form of Shaun Wright-Phillips and particularly Stephen Ireland.

Carlos Tevez will return though, and I expect him to play as a lone striker with Craig Bellamy and Adam Johnson in attacking midfield roles with a very tight and compact midfield three - likely Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong and possibly Vincent Kompany (depending on whether he moves back into defence). So there is plenty of pace and movement available in attack and I see Mancini aiming to play a classic counter attack style of game and look to nick the game on the break against a Chelsea defence which has shown signs of frailty in recent games.

For both managers it is also a chance to renew their rivalry from the days when they did battle in Milan, and as familiar as the players will be of one another, this applies equally to the managers.

I am anticipating a tight affair, with not a huge amount of chances for either side. As much as I'd hope to come away with a point (or better) I just don't see it.

Prediction? A frustrating afternoon with a 2-0 defeat.