Pellegrini Gets 'Special' Welcome From Former Foe

Picture: Daniel Tejedor/AP
Manuel Pellegrini faces old rival Jose Mourinho. Image courtesy of Daniel Tejedor/AP
Three years ago Jose Mourinho replaced Manuel Pellegrini as boss of Real Madrid. The latter went to Malaga and after the Madrid side thrashed Pellegrini’s outfit 7-0 in 2011, ‘The Special One’ had a none-too-subtle dig at the Chilean saying: “If Madrid were to fire me, I wouldn’t go to Malaga. I’d go to a top-level team in Italy or England.”

As if you need to stoke the fire any more in a clash between two of the top dogs in English football, the coaches have provided it. If Pellegrini is to get one over his Portuguese rival, though, his City outfit will have to improve vastly on its away record for this clash at Stamford Bridge. The Sky Blues have lost five matches away from home across 2013, and this season they’ve collected just four of a possible 12 points on the road. There was some encouragement last start when the Citizens posted a much-needed 3-1 victory at Upton Park over West Ham.

Chelsea has an unblemished record at its west London home in four starts this campaign. After a shoddy run at the end of August and through September in the premiership, the Blues resumed normal service with a 3-1 win over Norwich at Carrow Road before dismantling Cardiff City 4-1 at home.

Mourinho hopes to have defender Ashley Cole back from a rib injury for this clash after missing the Cardiff win and the 3-0 victory in Germany over Schalke 04 midweek. City has had issues at the back in the absence of skipper Vincent Kompany (thigh) but the Belgian should be back this weekend, along with Martin Demichelis (knee).

The teams drew 0-0 at the Bridge last season, but Chelsea won the previous two encounters at their home ground. Mourinho is unbeaten in 64 EPL games as Chelsea manager. City won the last match between the teams 2-0 in Manchester in February.

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