Football

Chelsea victory versus Manchester City will secure the Premier League title

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With a five-point lead at the top of the table, Chelsea head into their Premier League clash against Manchester City this weekend knowing that victory over the reigning champions will all but guarantee they lift the domestic crown in May.

Jose Mourinho will play down expectations, or at least he would have had he not cancelled Friday's pre-match press conference in protest of his Football Association fine for comments made about an alleged campaign from officials against the club, but with an eight-point advantage over the Citizens he will be confident that the chances of his team being caught in the closing stages of the two-horse title race are minimal.

The task facing the Blues at Stamford Bridge tomorrow has been made that little bit harder following confirmation of Diego Costa's three-match suspension, but in Didier Drogba the Portuguese coach has another marksman capable of converting the goal(s) needed to secure another valuable three points, even if the Ivorian's personal record against City is poor.

Drogba has managed just five goals in 14 games against Manchester City with his last strike coming way back in 2007. He's fired blanks in each of his last nine appearances, but will be ordered to find a breakthrough when Manuel Pellegrini's side turn out in west London on Saturday.

The 36-year-old has contributed six goals in all competitions since rejoining Chelsea on a free transfer from Galatasaray last summer, but all those conversions will be overshadowed by a match-winning strike this weekend.

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Injury doubts over certain starters Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic also threaten to make Saturday's assignment more difficult, but Mourinho's solid head-to-head record against the Chilean coach in the opposition dugout will help confidence if it is ailing.

With seven victories from 11 matches played - and only two defeats in that time - there will be genuine belief, if not expectancy, on Mourinho's part for his players to produce another victory.

His case will be strengthened even further by statistics which point towards a positive result for Chelsea, with just one defeat in the last 16 Premier League home games against Manchester City. No team has beaten them more often in England's top-flight, with four victories from the past eight matches and only two losses.

Returning hero Frank Lampard was the man that denied the Blues victory in the reverse fixture back in September, coming off the bench to net a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

Chelsea fans will be hoping that lightening doesn't strike twice again tomorrow.

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Topics:
Manchester City
Football
Premier League
Chelsea

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