City host Chelsea as race hots up
Posted Tuesday, March 20 2012 at 20:26
Manchester City will have the chance to revive their faltering bid for the Premier League title as the whole of the English, and indeed global, game continues to wish Fabrice Muamba well.
There has been a sense of the sport being “on hold” in England since Bolton midfielder Muamba’s frightening collapse with a cardiac arrest during last weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final away to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
Encouraging medical bulletins
But although the former England Under-21 international remains in an intensive care unit, increasingly encouraging medical bulletins regarding his recovery should lessen the understandably sombre mood in the Premier League.
Victory for a City team beaten last time out at Swansea will see then close to within a point of champions and local rivals Manchester United at the top of the table.
Italian manager Mancini must now decide whether today is the right time to bring back temperamental, if talented, forward Carlos Tevez who went into a self-imposed three-month exile at home in Argentina after falling out with the Manchester City supremo in a Champions League clash back in September.
Sharpness and fitness
City defender Joleon Lescott insisted the squad would have no problems welcoming back Tevez into first team action.
“He’s like a new signing. He’s not been injured so he is not going to be struggling too much in terms of sharpness and fitness,” Lescott said.
“All the boys are excited and can’t wait for him to get playing again,” the England international added.
Roberto di Matteo takes a fifth-placed Chelsea side to Eastlands in search of a fifth straight win since he succeeded the sacked Andre Villas-Boas.
In confident mood
Meanwhile, Fernando Torres has finally found the net with the Spain striker scoring twice in the 5-2 FA Cup quarter-final win over Leicester on Sunday to end a goal drought of five months.
The battle for third and fourth, and the Champions League places they bring, is almost as intriguing as the title race.
Arsenal, whose position at one stage this season left many observers pondering on whether manager Arsene Wenger had been too long at the Gunners are now just a point behind third-placed Tottenham and three clear of Chelsea.
They have won their last four games in all competitions and will travel to Everton today in confident mood.
“We have had some really good wins, away at Anfield, at home to Tottenham and Newcastle, and AC Milan too even though we didn’t qualify,” said Arsenal teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.