The time has arrived; the build up is nearly over – now all that’s left to say is…. ‘Let the battle of the billionaires’ begin.
The game is a complete sell out even though Setenta Sports are broadcasting the match live. The latest estimates suggest over 200 countries worldwide will show the match live, or broadcast extended highlights. A new Premier League record.
Mark Hughes spoke about the homecoming of City fans favourite Shaun Wright-Phillips…
‘Shaun has nothing to prove in tomorrow’s game,’ he said.
‘All the lads with whom he played as Chelsea and the people there know he is an exceptionally talented footballer.’
‘We are just delighted that he is back. The impact he had against Sunderland was incredible. You couldn’t have written that script. It was great for him and I know he is really excited about going up against Chelsea tomorrow as we all are.’
‘I am sure he will get a great reception. His home coming in terms of the media has been slightly overshadowed by Robinho and what has happened off the field but come the game I am sure there will be an outstanding reception for him.’
Manchester City Team News:
Robinho trained with Manchester City for the first time on Friday and is expected to start, while Pablo Zabaleta may also make his debut.
And then there’s a small matter of a certain home debut for Shaun Wright-Phillips, the one and only no less.
Meanwhile, Micah Richards could be available again after a shoulder injury.
Mark Hughes will pick his starting 11 from the following…
Hart, Schmeichel, Richards, Kompany, Zabaleta, Dunne, Onuoha, Ben Haim, Ball, Garrido, Fernandes, Hamann, Ireland, Johnson, Elano, Evans, Sturridge, Caicedo, Jo, Benjani, Robinho.
Player to watch: Shaun Wright-Phillips
Recently returned home from Saturday’s opponents Chelsea, Shaun Wright-Phillips is expected to bring the house down.
His pace, flair and ability on the ball will be enough to cause the Chelsea defence a long a painful 90-minute headache.
SWP said prior to the game…
‘I am looking forward to it, as all the players are. It doesn’t mean a lot to me that it’s Chelsea, it’s more about playing my first home game after coming back to City.’
‘I started as a Blue here, became a Chelsea blue and am back now as a Blue.’
‘The smile is never going to go and hopefully the goals will keep coming just as they started here.’
Chelsea Team News:
Didier Drogba is expected to play a cameo role after his knee problem, while Michael Ballack is not 100% match fit after recently returning to training and might be seen as a risk.
Joe Cole, who collected 10 stitches in a head wound during Wednesday night’s England game is expected to wear some sort of head-guard and should make the starting line-up.
Luiz Felipe Scolari will pick his starting 11 from the following…
Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Bosingwa, Terry, Carvalho, A Cole, Belletti, Obi, Lampard, Deco, Anelka, Drogba, J Cole, Bridge, Alex, Ferreira, Kalou, Malouda, Di Santo, Ivanovic.
Player to watch: Deco
The 31-year-old midfielder still has what it takes at the very highest level and will need to be man-marked in an effort to keep the Portuguese playmaker at bay.
Match Facts & Stats
There have been a total of 126 League meetings.
City wins – 39
Chelsea wins – 51
Draws – 36
Last time out:
City 0-2 Chelsea (Dunne og 6)(Kalou 53)
Mark Halsey (47) (Lancashire) a native of Hertfordshire, spent 12 years playing non-league football before he started refereeing in 1989.
In 2000, he was added to the FIFA list of referees and in 2004, he took control of his first major FIFA appointment, the match between Belgium and France.
Click here to see Vital Manchester City registered users score predictions.
Thursday 18 September 20:00
City v AC Omonia
Live on Sky1