Chelsea are set to go head to head with Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City side later today at the Etihad in a match which the Blues need to gain maximum points, following their opening day draw against Swansea City. The Citizens on the other hand cruised past West Bromich Albion last Monday, with Silva their main threat going forward.
Erstwhile Arsenal defender Martin Keown looks ahead to the crunch encounter and has now suggested Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho could select either his all-action midfielder Ramires or young French powerhouse Kurt Zouma to abridge the threat posed by the Spaniard whizz.
This is according to the Daily Mail who claim as per Keown, the Blues must stop Silva if they are to claim all three points today.
Chelsea travel to Manchester for the first heavyweight clash of the 2015/16 season after last weekend’s disappointing 2-2 draw against Swansea. Knowing Mourinho, he has succeeded in diverting people’s attentions from the game as he heaped blames on his medical staff Jon Fearn and Eva Carneiro – and they will not be on the bench as physios in today’s game.
Both clubs played a 1-1 draw in both first and second legs last season, however, Mourinho has not lost on his last two visits to the Etihad as he used his tactics successfully to eke out a draw and a win in the last two campaigns.
“Nemanja Matic is a fine defensive midfielder but he can’t stop the City attack by himself,” Keown stated.
“If Jose wants a like-for-like player watching Silva then he can pick Ramires.
“The Brazilian played wide on the right in this fixture last year but in a deeper role he can be all over Silva. He has a similar body type – wiry and quick – and by pressing hard and fast he can make life very difficult for Silva.
“If Mourinho wants to take a different approach he can pick Kurt Zouma, who is a beast of a player. He is quick, strong and eight inches taller than Silva. He may not be as nimble as Silva but he can really intimidate with his sheer size and strength.”
Although it is still early days, this game could well be decisive in the title race. The Citizens surrendered their crown to Chelsea last term, as Mourinho guided the Blues to their fourth and his third Premier League title. If City win, it will be a huge boost for them as they would be five points clear of one of their rivals for the title and should Chelsea come out victorious, the spirit – which has been dim – in the camp of the Blues will be illuminated.