Manchester City vs. Chelsea: Your Running Commentary

DavidSilvaManCity1-ChelseaEdenHazard (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Just like in the NFL Super Bowl on Sunday evening, the English Premier League’s best offense faces the league’s best defense on Monday in a crucial mid-season match-up.

Second-placed Manchester City, scorer of 115 goals in all competitions this season, face fellow title-rivals Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium (3pm, NBC Sports Network), as Man City hope to leap-frog Arsenal back into top spot in the league. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has already begun the war of words, calling Man City “lucky” and an underachieving club. The same can be said this season for his high-priced Chelsea side, who couldn’t find a way through the West Ham defense last Saturday.

Fernandinho misses out due to an injury suffered in training while Edin Dzeko partners with Alvaro Negredo in place of Sergio Aguero for the hosts. Chelsea meanwhile have left out Oscar and are expected to play with both David Luiz and Nemanja Matic as holding midfielders, signaling a defensive approach.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action.

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72 Responses to Manchester City vs. Chelsea: Your Running Commentary

  1. argh says:

    why isn’t WONDO playing in Europe? A hat trick agains Belize. A brace against South Korea and 27 goals in MLS back in 2012.

    surely he could start for Cardiff or Crystal Palace

    • TomG says:

      Maybe. If he’s willing to take a pay cut. Why would he want to move out of the country of his birth, take less money, and have to fight for a job when he’s at the end of his prime in a WC year. Makes zero sense. He has to earn as much money as possible and get as much playing time as possible.

      • yikes says:

        how does 1 make less money by playing in a top 10 european league?

        • TomG says:

          Oh God, he said Cardiff and Crystal Palace?? I didn’t even look. I assumed he would mention a Championship club. There’s no way in the universe that a BPL club is signing Wondo. He’s absolutely dreaming. He doesn’t have the age, the skills, or the athleticism that BPL clubs want.

          • les wondo says:

            what do you mean? elaborate

            • TomG says:

              Not sure how much clearer I can be. He is slower, smaller and less skilled than BPL strikers. Even a lower level BPL striker like Jozy is much bigger, stronger and more skilled. Wondo’s pedigree is also much less impressive than most BPL strikers who are proven scorers in leagues like La Liga, He’s also at a much older age than they like because he won’t get much better. Cameron Jerome is a big, strong guy with great speed and nice skills and he’s often the second choice forward for CP. There’s not a single BPL club with a whiff of interest in a striker of Wondo’s profile. Most Championship clubs would have no interest as well because of his age. That’s just reality. He’s a lot more valuable to SJ than he would be to any Euro club.

              • GW says:

                Is Wondo a better striker than Kei Kamara late of KC and Norwich, now with Middlesbrough?

                Kei is 29 and cost Middlesbrough 800 K..

              • TomG says:

                Kamara is much more athletic and versatile than Wondo. Kamara has BPL athleticism. Wondo does not. Sooooo, once again, someone needs to show me a BPL team willing to pick up a player who is even remotely similar to Wondo.

    • Bean says:

      If you’re that good, they’ll find you. They may not think he’s good enough for top flight football. There are not many strikers of Wondow’s type playing in the EPL. Most are creators, or they are large “hold the ball up” types. Chicharito is a similar player to Wondo, but he sees limited action.

      • les wondo says:

        but why isn’t he in Europe? Is it his age? McBride moved to Fulham when he was 31

        • TomG says:

          BMC had already proven himself at Wolfsburg, Preston North End and Everton by the time he went to Fulham. Wondo has only played in MLS. Also, McBride was an elite level athlete with tremendous speed and leaping ability. Wondo is not a great athlete. Taylor Twellman is the more accurate comparison.

        • Anthony says:

          Let me preface this by saying that I am a huge McBride fan, but I don’t know how much BMC had proven himself before landing at Fulham. I think you overstated proving himself.

          When BMC was at Wolfsburg, they were in the 2nd tier and he barely featured. I could be wrong, but I don’t even think he scored in the 2nd division. If he did, then it was just once or twice. He was then released. He came back to MLS then later went to Preston who was a 1st division/Championship team then Everton for 2 short 2/3 month loan periods. The only difference was that David Moyes was the manager at both clubs and knew what he was getting. I think he scored 1 time for Preston and a couple times for Everton, but David Moyes liked him. Then he landed at Fulham, which was a bottom feeder club at them time (barely surviving relegation).

          BMC and Wondo are different players. BMC is a target forward who can score. Wondo is a prolific poacher (a la very very poor man’s Raul). You have to have teams that play that way then managers who are willing to look at you. Comes down to someone has to be willing to give an American player a shot. I think he can perform in a team that plays with a lead poacher (which fewer elite teams are today).

          • TomG says:

            He played well in multiple loan spells. That’s why Fulham signed him. If he hadn’t proven himself in those loans, Fulham wouldn’t have signed him. Wondo has never proven himself in Europe. Not sure what you’re saying. You don’t have to score 20 goals to prove you can play with the big boys. By that standard, LD didn’t prove anything with his Everton loan spells which is very false IMO. If you can name a single other guy with Wondos skills and Wondos tools and his age in a league of MLS stature that is handed a decent BPL contract, then I will listen, but I don’t think you guys are being remotely realistic. You are basically saying he should get a chance even though no one else in his situation ever would.

            • Anthony says:

              No…the issue is why hasn’t Wondo even getting a look. A look can be a loan (short term or long term). BMC went to Germany Bundesliga 2 before the MLS was formed and did NOTHING. Proved NOTHING except he did not even belong in Bundesliga 2. He scored only 2 meaningless times in the league and barely played. They thought so little of him, the released him. Based upon that he should even has smelled the Championship/1st Division.

              6/7 years later he got LUCKY and got a look during short-term loan with Preston Northend in the old 1st Division/Championship. He proved he could hang during that time. Wondo has never been luckly enough to get a look. In the same amount of time in the league, Wondo has outscored BMC: BMC score 62 times in 162 appearances in MLS, Wondo has scored 75 times in 133 appearances.

              They are 2 different types of players. All Wondo needed was a team that played his style to give a chance. However, it never happened.

      • TomG says:

        I’d also say Chicharo is a good level or two above Wondo in ball skills and athleticism. Not to bash Wondo, but the things he does well are pretty intangible and not highly valued by the BPL or other top 4 leagues. Look at Twellman and how he never drew interest.

        • John says:

          Except when he plays for Mexico

        • GW says:

          “I’d also say Chicharo is a good level or two above Wondo in ball skills and athleticism”

          If you read the British press there are quite a few who would bash Chicharito’s ball skills and athleticism. He is better in the air than Wondo but I doubt his skills are otherwise a quantum leap above Wondo’s.

          Twellman, who played very well in Bundesliga 2, is a bad comparison since the perception of American players was a lot different six or seven years ago. Now you have guys like John Terry saying:
          “long-time Chelsea defender John Terry seems to think so. During the 2012 MLS All-Star Game, he complimented Wondolowski (who was mic’ed up) with his movement, proclaiming it “incredible” and a “nightmare” for him to defend.” Terry is unsavory but is arguably the best English defender of his generation.

          I don’t know if Wondo will ever get a chance to play in the BPL but I would bet that if a manager and a team there was willing to take chance on him and had a club with a suitable set up in terms of style and players, Wondo could do well.
          Wondo is clearly a late bloomer and his age might count against him except that his skills are more cerebral than physical and as long as he is in good enough shape to play for the USMNT, which he clearly is, then I see no reason why he would not do well.

          • TomG says:

            There are a ton of reasons why he wouldn’t do well. All of which I’ve enumerated over and again. I don’t want to bash Wondo, so just go back and look or just use your eyes and see why he is completely different than every single striker in the BPL. Actually, no serious British pundit would disagree with me. If you’re seriously comparing the athleticism of Chicharito and Wondo, you’ve completely lost the plot. Chacharito is one of the fastest players in the BPL. Chicharito was the FASTEST player at the 2010 world cup with a top speed of 32.2 km/h. Wondo moves smartly, but he’s a relatively slow player. I’m sorry, but you don’t know what you’re talking about in this case. You can say that you think he would be successful in the BPL and that’s fine. If he was magically handed a starting job, he might be able to be successful, but he would never be given that chance because, by every measurable quality, he falls well short of BPL level. It’s unreasonable to ask a team to pay a good contract to a guy who does not meet any of the qualities they look for in a striker. I’m still waiting for you to name a similar player, but you haven’t.

  2. yikes says:

    what are the chances of JOzy scoring a few goals in Brazil and moving to another league?

  3. Jerry says:

    Well, Pelligrini is having his first Wenger moment, playing Demichellis in central midfield. Why not play Negredo at LB while your at it.

    • GW says:

      Well both Kinnear and JK moved Cameron from centerback to central midfield. Does Pellgrini post here?

  4. ISAF says:

    i wish Jozy played for Sampdoria or Bologna in Italy

    • Paul says:

      I wished he had gone to Everton. I was wary about the Sunderland move because I saw them play a couple times last year and saw the hole they han in midfield. However, I was still wishing for the best. He is a player that does not create, but involves very well in link-up play.

      • beachbum says:

        Southampton would have great too, nice midfield and style of play. Learning a lot where he’s at right now too seems to me tho

    • go euro or go home says:

      i wish jimmy johnson was still coaching the cowboys. it doesn’t work like that…

  5. TomG says:

    Love that TSO will be playing cynical, park the bus soccer the very week after criticizing Big Sam for, you guessed it, playing cynical, park the bus soccer and saying how bad it is for the game. What a an @$$.

    • AcidBurn says:

      TSO can park the bus because he is…fantastic, my friends. All others may not, but he may do so.
      Be champions.

      • TomG says:

        He’s been a successful manager, for sure, but that doesn’t stop him from being an @$$ as a human being and a cynical bore for fans to watch. Actually not an awful match thus far. Let’s hope TSO makes me eat my words today.

        • beachbum says:

          not parking the bus much, pressuring up high a lot, Eto’o and Willian and Ramires working hard up there

        • beachbum says:

          what Mourinho’s teams do best imo is not let you counter when you think you can counter. once his teams organize defensively it’s tough, but they attack in numbers too but when they turn it over they don’t allow the counter opportunities

          still, Silva had 2 chances that didn’t go for MC

      • Edmondo says:

        …I see what you did Acidburn…:)

    • Nate Dollars says:

      as was said in a previous thread, there’s a difference between “cynical, park the bus soccer” and pure counter-attacking, which is what mourinho’s teams are built on.

      for example, in the arsenal-chelsea game earlier this season, chelsea were by far the more dangerous and exciting team, but if i had only seen some people’s comments and the 0-0 scoreline, i would’ve assumed that chelsea were just sitting back and playing for the point. stereotypes can be persuasive.

      • TomG says:

        I completely disagree. Anyone who watched Chelsea-Barca or Inter-Barca or any number of other matches realizes that TSO, when faced with any gap in talent bt his club and the opponent, will park the bus as far back as any manager in the history of football. Several of those matches were not only 80/20 in possession but also on the order of 20-1 in shots. TSO was not playing exciting soccer by any means. He was not generating chances in those matches. He was completely parking the bus with 11 men behind the ball and hoping only to prevent the other side from scoring even though the talent gap between his clubs and the opponent’s was far, far, far less than that between Chelsea and West Ham.

        • AcidBurn says:

          The 2nd leg of Inter-Barca a few years ago was probably one of the most interesting tactical matches of the last decade. TSO came in knowing that he didn’t have to win, and set up his team to close down space to not let Barca pass around them. Inter then went down to 10 men and TSO was able to continue to frustrate Barca. Impressive tactics. Read the zonal marking writeup of that game to understand how impressive it was.

          By the way Chelsea has hit the post 3 times so far today.

          • TomG says:

            If by “impressive,” you mean cynical and boring, then I’d agree with you.

            • Nate Dollars says:

              blame it on the two-leg setup then. mourinho had aggressively attacked in the first leg, so much so that he didn’t have to in the second. if you view the two legs as two halves of the same match, it wasn’t very cynical (or boring) at all.

              • TomG says:

                Boring is boring. Parking the bus is parking the bus. If you park the bus for 90 minutes, it’s boring. It’s also cowardly IMO, if you park the bus the way TSO has done in the past with the talent he’s had at his disposal. It’s a disservice to the game. It’s one thing if you don’t have the money and talent to compete, but he does. If he’s such a tactical genius, he can come up with a way to stay in match without parking the bus. That’s not brilliant tactics, that’s 19th century tactics.

              • Nate Dollars says:

                well, i’ll totally agree with you that he’s no tactical genius; he pretty much just sticks to counterattacking, which is why he could get rid of mata.

                much like fergie, his tactics are nothing to brag about, but he’s a great leader and man manager. (interestingly, they’re both also complete @ssholes, in totally different ways.)

          • TomG says:

            Give him his props, today, though. He only parked the bus in the second half with a 1 goal lead on the road. Can’t kill him for that. Good win for the Blues.

            • Pete says:

              In the second half they hit the post twice and looked the more likely to score. They played on counter, not the same as parking the bus.

            • Ricky B. Free says:

              Maybe you should learn more about football, to know what is parking the bus and what is counterattacking football.

              You may not like it, but a lot of people love fast counterattacking teams.

              • TomG says:

                Those Barca Chelsea and Inter Barca matches were not fast counterattacking matches. Maybe YOU need to learn more about football. Maybe you should start by actually watching the matches.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          i kind of throw the rules out the window when talking about teams playing barca (of 2-4 years ago). everybody knew that was the *only* way to have a chance against them. i think it says more about how good barca was than anything about the other teams.

          • TomG says:

            It’s not like that’s the only time TSO has been criticized for parking the bus, Nate. Just google, mourinho parks the bus and you’ll get 18,400,000 results. There’s a reason for that. I love ya, Nate, but we will never agree on this one. I’ve lost way too many hours of my life to watching potentially great UCL matches that TSO turns into dreadful, cynical football.

            • Nate Dollars says:

              as i said, stereotypes can be persuasive. (come on, tomg, just because it’s on the google doesn’t make it true. :) )

              i used to think that’s all he did, because i pretty much only saw him play against barca.

              i think probably the disagreement stems from: what some people call “cynical”, i call “practical”.

              mourinho is the epitome of the practical manager: he attacks when he has to, and he defends when he has to. beauty has nothing to do with it. but while there’s no doubt that free-flowing, creative soccer is attractive, there’s also something undeniably enthralling about a well-drilled team with a coordinated killer instinct.

              and that’s as much “praise” for mourinho that i can stomach. i’m gonna go take a shower.

  6. yikes says:

    did Tim Howard ever announce what he wants to do once he’s retired from playing? I bet he could play another 4-5 years and a starter at Everton for another 2-3. Could he become an announcer or a coach?

  7. AcidBurn says:

    Great hearing Howard doing commentary. Love getting his perspective.

  8. Jerry says:

    Jozy needs to play for a specific style, admittedly if he was to stay in the EPL I wouldn’t mind seeing him at a Newcastle or Villa who I think suit his style much better than Sunderland. However, Poyet is slowly improving things so I hope Jozy attempts to continue with the project.

    • beachbum says:

      Jozy has been in the middle of many of Poyet’s improvements that mainly dealt having to overcome the Sunderland midfield that could not string passes together through the middle 3rd let alone into the final 3rd. It’s been fun to watch the team’s transformation since November

  9. Adelai says:

    Eto’o is such a huge piece of sh*t. Leaving his studs into Yayas shin.

  10. AcidBurn says:

    Yaya Toure is an absolute beast. Awesome to watch.

  11. Adelai says:

    Jesus is there one player on Chelsea that doesn’t dive, time waste and cheap shot?

  12. Adelai says:

    Haha Howard better be careful being so honest.

  13. beachbum says:

    MC losing at home at halftime, talking to each other and gesturing, fouling, looking frustrated seems to me. That Silva miss in front of goal looming large right now

  14. beachbum says:

    Silva with another chance in front of goal but he can’t redirect on target

  15. peter griffin says:

    why isn’t Jozy playing for Chelsea or Man City? He scored 31 goals last season in Holland

    • TomG says:

      Because it takes more than that to start for a top flight BPL club. They start guys like Aguero who scored 74 goals in La Liga. Dzeko scored 66 Bundesliga goals and he’s a backup.

  16. AcidBurn says:

    Haha on Howard’s commentary…”if you’re the last man, as I found out against Sunderland, you get the red card…” tell it like it is, timmay

  17. Pete says:

    Chelsea completely outplayed Man City today. Hazard was amazing.

  18. AcidBurn says:

    And that makes it 2 wins in 2 tries for Mourinho against the title favorite. So he talks up City all week and then City look disjointed? Hmmmm.

  19. Ricky B. Free says:

    Chelsea dominated most of the game. That was impressive.

    Matic and David Luiz played great in midfield.

    • TomG says:

      Chelsea outshot by 7 and out possessed 59-41 so seems silly to say they dominated, but I think they were the better side in the first half and parked the bus and defended very well in the second, frustrating a potent MC offense, though lacking their star. Still, a huge win for the Blues on the road.

      • Pete says:

        I don’t think you know what “parked the bus” means…

        • TomG says:

          I don’t think you know how to actually make a coherent argument or engage in a reasonable debate, so go away until you can actually say something remotely intelligent.

          • Pete says:

            Chelsea had 6 shots on target, hitting the post 3 times. Man city had 3 shots on target. But good try bus driver.

  20. slowleftarm says:

    I don’t know how I ended up becoming such a Mourinho apologist but some of the comments on here are really off the wall.

    I don’t think anyone can argue that Man City have better players than Chelsea but we’re two-thirds of the way through the season and they have the same number of points and Chelsea won both matches head to head. That’s because of Mourinho.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      “I don’t know how I ended up becoming such a Mourinho apologist”

      yeah, same here. i can’t stand the guy, but i think we get distracted by criticizing his tactics, when we should be criticizing him for being an arrogant dissembling @sshole. i just don’t like undeserved hate. (except for nyrb–they can get ALL the hate.)

    • go euro or go home says:

      chelsea’s roster is at least just as stacked as anyone else’s in the epl. much deeper than city, if you ask me, and they have the best player in the league in hazard.