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Mix ‘n’ Match: Man City edge numbers in combined Chelsea line-up

| 12.04.2013

An intriguing FA Cup semi-final is in prospect as Chelsea and Manchester City clash at Wembley, and given that the Citizens have won three of the past four meetings of the pair, it is unsurprising to see them as 11/8 favourites to triumph in 90 minutes.

And in keeping with Roberto Mancini’s men taking favouritism for the clash, they possess a majority six starters in our combined line-up between the teams.

To start with, Joe Hart dons the gloves, even without FA Cup form to consider this season.

Despite being rested for City’s four matches in this competition so far, Hart has kept 14 Premier League clean sheets in 30 appearances, more than any other top-flight goalkeeper.

His immediate protection comes from a battle-hardened central defensive pairing, as each club captain partner each other at the heart of the backline.

Vincent Kompany and John Terry each bring an intelligent reading of the game, along with a willingness to put their bodies on the line for the cause.

And whilst a lack of obvious pace may stem from the partnership, the speed of either covering full-back can complement our reliable central double act.

Pablo Zabaleta and Ashley Cole are chosen to fill the right-back and left-back slots respectively, with both players equally as comfortable going forward as they are in a defensive capacity.

As such, the pair, effortlessly comfortable in possession, can provide assists and chip in with goals as well as greatly aiding their side in the prevention of conceding.

Meanwhile, despite operating in deep-lying roles, our central midfield pairing would also weigh in heavily from a goalscoring perspective.

Frank Lampard’s reversion to a sitting midfield capacity this season has not curtailed his goalscoring inhibitions, with the former West Ham trainee notching 14 times in all competitions.

And partnered by the powerful Yaya Toure, whose driving runs have reaped just less than 30 strikes in his three campaigns in England, the midfield base of this side provides goals in addition to vast experience.

Ahead of these meanwhile, a highly imaginative trio operate behind our lone striker, in the form of Eden Hazard and Spanish international team-mates Juan Mata and David Silva.

Often chosen between for their national side, Mata and Silva both possess impeccable vision, proven by their ability to pick a pass seemingly out of nowhere.

A combined assists total exceeding 60 in all competitions over the past two seasons prove this, whilst both also have an eye for goal, although Mata’s is arguably sharper, given his tally of 18 strikes this term.

Belgian international Hazard has proved no slouch in both providing and scoring goals since moving to England too meanwhile, contributing directly to 29 Chelsea strikes this term.

And those three players would perfectly supplement forward Sergio Aguero, who once again demonstrated his unerring finishing ability when blasting the Manchester derby winner home in his last appearance.

Diminutive and pacy, the prospect of the Argentinian international latching on to Hazard and Mata through-balls is mouth-watering.

With the Blues pair and Silva providing the ammunition, Aguero could build on a goal ratio that is already better than one in two in England.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



John Klee