English Premiership

City keen to close the gap

2015-01-29 13:12
Manuel Pellegrini (Supplied)
Manuel Pellegrini (Supplied)

Manchester 0 Chelsea has had an eight-point lead in the English Premiership wiped out by title rival Manchester City once already this season.

Don't expect it to happen again.

That means all the pressure will be on City when the defending champions travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, looking to avoid a loss to Chelsea that would restore the eight-point gap with 15 games remaining.

In fact, for City manager Manuel Pellegrini, only a victory will do.

"We must close the gap to two points," Pellegrini said of the biggest match of the season so far.

Having worked so hard in December to get back on level terms with Chelsea, City has allowed its rival to pull five points clear in the title race after drawing at Everton and losing at home to Arsenal in its last two league games.

Throw in a home loss to second-tier Middlesbrough in the FA Cup last weekend and City's form has plummeted, despite star striker Sergio Aguero being back in the team after injury.

Chelsea was also humbled in the FA Cup on Saturday, by third-tier Bradford, but recovered quickly by beating Liverpool on Tuesday to reach the League Cup final.

That win was marred, however, by Chelsea striker Diego Costa stamping on an opponent's leg, leaving the Spain international facing a three-game ban that would rule him out of the City fixture.

With question marks also hanging over the fitness of key midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who came off with a hamstring injury against Liverpool, Chelsea could be without arguably its two best players this season.


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