Vincent Kompany remains sidelined for this encounter, leaving Manuel Pellegrini with a tough decision as to who will be Matija Nastasic’s central defensive partner. The likelihood is that the Chilean will keep faith with the shambolic Javi Garcia, whose lack of mobility and inability to anticipate danger will delight Chelsea’s attacking quartet. Summer signing Martin Demichelis is back fit but this game could come a few days too soon for him. Joleon Lescott seems out of favour with the manager, but surely Micah Richards or Dedryck Boyata, if Pellegrini is so desperate for a right/left-foot partnership, would be better options.
Further forward, Jesus Navas started against CSKA Moscow, but this fixture carries the air of James Milner and his greater defensive awareness and work ethic. Alvaro Negredo should see off competition from Edin Dzeko to continue his fine link-up with Sergio Aguero.
Here is the side Pellegrini could select:
Referee: Howard Webb
Prediction: Chelsea 2 – 2 MAN CITY – We look far more comfortable going forward as our talented creators and strikers find their form than we do at the back without our inspirational captain. The home side are an efficient unit and have the quality to pose problems. Goals to be scored by Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, Fernando Torres and Oscar.