In the past week Jose Mourinho has been ramping up the mind games with today's opponent Manuel Pellegrini. He accused Man City of not deserving their lead in the Premier League due to lucky decisions going their way; he also accused Man City of having underachieved since Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008.
These accusations have some merit (despite reeking of hypocrisy) and have served to spin the attention all in Man City today. If they win, they were supposed to; if they lose or draw, all of a sudden Mourinho looks like a genius and doubts will creep into the minds of Man City players - at least Mourinho hopes.
So how will both teams attempt to play the game? Contrary to popular belief, Manuel Pellegrini is not a manager that is hellbent on attacking play and I believe he will take precautions to avoid a defeat today. This is not the same as saying Man City will adopt a defensive policy, but rather they will throw in another body in midfield to combat Chelsea's prowess on the counter - or so I believe.
It would certainly make sense given that Aguero has been unfortunately ruled out. However, the main reason I believe this Pellegrini will do this is because it will not dampen their threat on the attack too much. Yaya Toure is easily capable of stepping up where a striker is missing.
As for Chelsea, despite Mourinho's heavy criticism of West Ham, likening them to a 19th century side, I would expect Mourinho to adopt a defence first policy to keep out Man City, albeit not as aggressive defensively as they were against Manchester United or Arsenal earlier at the season.
My reasoning for this is that despite all of Mourinho's best efforts to make his team seem as the underdogs, Mourinho will know this is the perfect chance to peg back Man City before they disappear into the distance. Also, the Ettihad is a massive pitch, the reason why every team so far has failed to stop City at their home is because City's pitch is spacious enough to allow their dribbling skills and passing ability to be showcased to the fullest.
Due to this I make City the favourites to win today and the wings will play a major part in this. Cesar Azpilicueta has had a great season so far filling in, in an unfamiliar position. Nonetheless, with Jesus Navas on the right wing, I suspect he will have a hard time.
Navas is a traditional winger and as he will rarely cut in, Azpilicueta will be forced to tackle or cordon him with his weaker foot.
David Silva will also be instrumental in helping City today. I would expect him to drift into the middle to play cute one-twos with the likes of Toure and Navas. It could be one of his passes in pockets of space that could enable a City player to score.
It will be a tight match, but if City win the midfield battle - which I presume Chelsea will allow - then as long as Navas gets the ball enough times, he will cause damage.
Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea