Undoubtedly the biggest match in the English Premiership this weekend is Chelsea playing Manchester City a Stamford Bridge on Sunday, and never mind that both clubs are behind Arsenal and Liverpool in the table, this is the first time two heavyweights have met in the Premiership if you don’t count Arsenal match with Spurs and Chelsea’s dismal 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.
In fact the six-point affair on Sunday will be a huge indicator as to who might be the top team at the end of the season when the awards are handed out with both clubs aspiring to be top of the table.
Chelsea got off to a slow start under new manager Jose Mourinho, but seems to have now found their rhythm after recent wins against Norwich and Cardiff, and this week’s impressive 3-0 away win at Schalke that saw the newly inspired Fernando Torres score a brace.
Manchester City meanwhile finally managed their first away win of the season at Upton Park last weekend beating West Ham 1-3 and their Champions League win on the much discussed farmers field pitch of CSKA Moscow will surly have added to their confidence as they look to upset the inform Chelsea.
For me it will be a game in which both sides defences will play a critical part with City having a superb attack in Aguero, Silva, Navas and Negrado who as we saw in the match against Manchester United when they won 4-1 could beat any team in the world, yet crucial for me is whether or not Vincent Kompany is fit to play after being out with a groin strain for three weeks.
Jose Mourinho meanwhile will hope to have Ashley Cole available for selection, and will desperately thinking of a way that he can stop Manchester City’s Yaya Toure from dominating the midfield with the only option to combat the Ivorian’s strength being Nigerian John Obi Mikel who has not featured in a match since being substituted at halftime against Tottenham.
It all very much depends on the tactics of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and whether or not he feels the need for Chelsea to show what they can do against a top team at home. If he adopts the tactics he used at Old Trafford we are in for a dull game with few if any goals, so for the sake of good football let’s hope he decides to play for the win rather than just not lose.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini will be coming to London looking for all three points which if Kompany plays City are more than capable of securing, which prompts me to favour the Citizens winning 1-3 as they show Arsenal that they have a long way still to go before the season is over.
If you like me watched the Tottenham v Chelsea match Saturday afternoon you will have seen a Fernando Torres playing like he was the best striker in the world, and not some player the fans still winged about after having paid Liverpool £50 two years ago for a striker that never lived up to his reputation.
From what I saw yesterday it was the Torres of old, he looked deadly while on the ball and even though he did not score his passion in the game earned him a red card in the 1-1 draw which he should never had received thanks in part to the play acting from Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen when he and Torres both went up for a 50/50 ball.
No love was lost between Torres and the Spurs defender during the game, and many people will say the red card was justice being done after the 29-year-old Torres scratched the Belgium in the face earlier on in the match.
Could Jose Mourinho be the man who deserves the credit for the rebirth of Torres, who on his arrival back at Stamford Bridge looked like one of the players that Mourinho wanted to sell, yet it was the Spaniards determination to prove to Mourinho that he still had the fight left in him and the desire to win that changed the Portuguese managers mind giving that start at White Hart Lane to Torres over Samuel Eto’o.
Perhaps Torres just needs to get angry in order to play good, and as you saw in yesterday’s match the personal rivalry between him and Vertonghen was the catalyst needed to bring back his fighting spirit and desire to score goals.
Even another player that had been marginalised since Mourinho’s arrival, Juan Mata came on in the second half to deliver not only some beautiful balls for Torres, but also the cross to provide John Terry with the header that gave Chelsea a point.
It was like watching Torres when he was playing for Liverpool constantly peeling off players as he waited for the ball to be slotted through from Gerrard or Alonso, a hungry Torres that we have not seen in a long time.
If I was Mourinho I saw enough from Torres yesterday to make me want to make him the centre of my team, and certainly enough from Mata to wonder why I had not been playing him.
If the Chelsea boss keeps Torres angry and hands charge of the midfield to Mata you are going to see a Chelsea side go from strength to strength where they can repeat yesterday’s second half performance which was absolutely brilliant.
What lies ahead for Chelsea’s Fernando Torres at Stamford Bridge should Rooney arrive to bolster the teams front line attack?
The former Liverpool striker has never lived up to his £50 million move from Anfield to Chelsea back in 2011, but looked to be getting some of his old form back last season following the arrival of fellow Spaniard Rafe Benitez that saw Torres score 27 goals in all competitions.
It will be interesting to see if that form continues under Jose Mourinho who thinks that competition up front will have Torres battling for his place in the team.
Last season Torres only had Demba Ba to contend with for a starting spot, but next season it will be not only Ba but Romelu Lukaku who netted 18 goals while on a season long loan at West Brom.
Mourinho’s first signing Andre Schurrle from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen will also be keen to make an impression on the Portuguese manager who thinks that last season only having to compete with Demba Ba did the Spanish international no favours.
“I think Fernando should be happy because we have competition in the team and that is good for everybody in every position,” he told reporters.
“I think Fernando will be pleased because during his time at Chelsea he was basically the only striker and then after that there was the arrival of Ba in January.
“Now the team has three (other) strikers and that is good.”
It will be very interesting to see what would happen should Rooney arrive at the club with my guess that either Ba or Torres could be sold.
Torres will be out of Chelsea’s first match of the season at home to Premiership new boys Hull City, as will Juan Mata and César Azpilicueta.
The trio are all part of the Spain team that are playing a friendly against Ecuador in Guayaquil on 14 August and will be too tired to play following such a long flight back to London.
Yet more speculation news over the destination of Fernando Torres who looks destined to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge.
It is being reported that Catalan giants Barcelona have put a bid on the table of £17 million in order to bring the former feared Liverpool striker to the Nou Camp.
Since arriving at Chelsea two years ago for a then British record £50 million the 29-year-old Torres has failed to find the form he showed at Liverpool scoring 22 goals overall this season, but only hitting the back of the net eight time during Premiership matches.
New manager Jose Mourinho will have a talk with Torres when he returns from Brazil where he is on international duty for Spain who as European Champions are playing in the Confederations Cup.
Torres still has three years remaining on his contract at a salary of £175,000 per week which for Barcelona would be no problem, with me expecting a deal to be done.
The only thing I see at the moment derailing a move to Barca is Arsenal, whose manager Arsene Wenger might just think he knows the secret to get the once feared striker back on form and with the other strikers Wenger has signalled out costing too much or on too high a wage Wenger could see Torres as a bargain.
With Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain costing £30 million, and reportedly moving closer to Juventus he is out.
Wayne Rooney’s £250,000 a week salary being a little too rich, and with Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic said to be close to signing for Chelsea Torres might just be the bargain striker out there at the moment.
I also wonder if Rafa Benitez would consider him a replacement for Edinson Cavani at Napoli, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.