Sunday sees an early battle of the title contenders when Manchester City host Jose Mourinho's Chelsea. The two sides started off the season last weekend leaving pundits and fans talking, but in completely different ways. For the fans of City it was an absolute bolt from the gates on the Monday night game as a usually tight Tony Pulis side were torn apart. For the fans of Chelsea it was somewhat subdued with their goalkeeper getting sent off, and subsequent appeal turned down, and a rather bizarre incident during and post match involving the club doctor Eva Carneiro. All this clouded the fact that Chelsea failed to take all the points at home and, more importantly, the credit being given to Swansea for actually holding a side who, lets face it, will be up there as the season draws to a close.
It would be dangerous though for City fans to expect a cake walk on Sunday as Jose Mourinho always has something going on and, with Pellegrini yet to best the ‘Special One' in League play, any assumptions could lead to an ignition of Chelsea's season.
Last season, two 1-1 draws were the result which was an improvement for City on the previous campaign in which Chelsea took all six points, although City would eventually win the League. Although there was that FA Cup win the statistics still show advantage to Chelsea.
The two sides have met a total of 152 times in competitive competitions with Chelsea historically still with the advantage of 63 wins. When you take into account tied games that means that Chelsea have only lost 32% of their competitive games against City from their first meeting over a century ago.
December 7th 1907 Chelsea and City would meet for the first time with the game taking place in London. City Manager Harry Newbould was in his second season as City manager and found the side decimated after the FA Commissioners had ruled the way they had two years earlier. Buchan and Jones scored that day but the return fixture, the following April at Hyde Road, would see Chelsea take all the points with a convincing 3-0 win.
In fact Manchester City would have to wait until the Boxing Day fixture the following season to secure their first win over Chelsea, a 2-1 victory made up for the previous days defeat.
Relegation would follow and four years would pass until City would face Chelsea again. On the 26th October, 1912, City beat Chelsea 2-0 at Hyde Road under their new Manager, Ernest Mangnall. The interesting story behind his appointment was that the man attended the first City game of the season (a 1-0 win away to Notts Co) before hosting City against his own side, Manchester United. At the final whistle, with a City victory against United, Mangnall was delighted. The next game City played was his first as City manager.
So have City and Chelsea ever met this early in the season before? Obviously they met in the Community Shield on the 12th August 2012 where City were victorious 3-2 but what about in League play? In 1957 the two sides met, in London, on the 28th August, which happened to be the first game of the season. The return fixture was a week later and City won both matches, 3-2 in London and 5-2 at Maine Road.
How about most goals in a game? Almost 55 years ago, forgiving a couple of months, City went to London and were hammered 6-3. Four years earlier though, in 1956 it was City on the right end of a nine goal thriller as a Johnstone hat trick and brace from Hayes gave City a 5-4 victory.
What everyone is wanting to know though is when City win titles, how do they fare against Chelsea? In the 1936-37 season there were two tied games. In 1967-68 City won their home game and Chelsea won theirs, nothing to call between them with both victories being of the 1-0 variety. A similar situation happened under Mancini's reign, a 2-1 victory at home for Chelsea followed by similar at the Etihad.
The trend bucked with the last title City would lift, in 2013-14 City lost twice but eventually lift the Premier League trophy. In 1971, Chelsea won its first European Trophy after beating Manchester City in the semifinals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. MCFC were the defending champions of the Cup Winners Cup having won in 1970 and as reining champions came close to winning two consecutive titles.
At home City have dominated the majority of opponents, including ‘the mighty' Chelsea. When the game has taken place at Manchester City's home ground, whether it be Hyde Road, Maine Road or now, at the Etihad, City are odds on not to lose. Of the 68 games played at home against Chelsea the side from London have won less than a third, 19 in fact. City, overall have outscored their opponents also by a total of 103 goals to 77.
Finally, of all the players still currently playing for City, who is the most prolific against Chelsea in City blue? Sergio Aguero? Yaya Toure? Nope. Although both have scored against Chelsea for City in competitive games Samir Nasri has actually scored four times against Chelsea, including twice in two FA Cup games, once in the Community Shield win and who can forget the go ahead goal, assisted by a reformed Carlos Tevez on the way to the first Premier League title. In fact, when Nasri scores for City against Chelsea, City always wins!
All that is nice and it's a bit of fun to research and read into what you like but the real statistic will come at the end of 90 minutes on Sunday. It would be great to have City win and see them go five points clear of Chelsea after only two games played but, either way, it's a long, long season.