(Reuters) – Premier League leaders Chelsea face a stern test of their title credentials when they visit Manchester City this weekend on the back of a seven-match winning streak.
Here is what the fans have to say about their respective clubs:
Ric Turner – Bluemoon MCFC Podcast
“It’s obviously a big game, with just one point separating the two teams at the top of the table. Chelsea are on a great run of form, with seven straight wins. We have home advantage and have had a full week to prepare for once.
“Our last three home (league) games have ended as 1-1 draws, and I can see it being the same result on Saturday. Neither side will want to lose this game and while it’s not in (manager Pep) Guardiola’s nature to be cautious, I think he will be mindful of Chelsea’s threat on the counter attack.
“We knew we were getting the best manager in the world when Guardiola’s appointment was announced and he has lived up to expectations so far. It’s obviously going to take time for him to implement his ideas and get the team playing in his style, but the early signs are very encouraging.
“Guardiola has shown strong management in his dealings with the likes of Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure, which I think the squad needed. Under (former manager) Manuel Pellegrini it felt like the players wielded too much power but there is no question of that now that Guardiola is in full control.
“We started the season brilliantly, winning our first 10 games, but we’ve looked less fluent recently. That may just be down to the number of games we’ve played. Hopefully we can now focus on the Premier League until the Champions League knock out stages start in February.
“We’ve played some great football at times, but we still look vulnerable defensively, and the injury to Vincent Kompany hasn’t helped.
“The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero have all been excellent so far this season, but our most consistent performer has probably been Fernandinho. He’s absolutely key to the way we play — Guardiola has even said that if we had three Fernandinhos, we would win the league.”
Garry Hayes – Chelsea Podcast
“Chelsea are the in-form team in the Premier League so based on that you would think we would be feeling confident. Although Manchester City’s form has been a bit up and down of late, since Yaya Toure has returned they’ve perhaps shown that steel that has been missing.
“Chelsea are going to be haunted by what happened to them last season — City completely and utterly outplayed us in both league games. They completely played us off the park at the Etihad and, as champions, we weren’t used to seeing that.
“The core group of players are still with the club so it’ll be like going back to the scene of the crime. It will be interesting to see how the players respond to that.
“I think the game will end in a 1-1 draw. Chelsea’s game management is getting back to the levels that we expect it to be. But with the players City have got they are always going to have chances. We’ve won seven games and suddenly everyone thinks Chelsea are going to win the league.
“Antonio Conte has been incredible since he arrived. The four players he signed in the summer have made a big impression and I think the manager deserves a lot of credit for that.
“He’s also a lot more respectful in the way that he deals with the media. He listens and he gives a considered response. Conte is even willing to answer the questions that are a little bit difficult. He’s handled the situation surrounding John Terry in an incredible way, too. We like the fact that he doesn’t chase the idea of creating a profile in the media, he’s more about the football.
“My stand-out player of the season is Victor Moses. He was sort of an enigma, we weren’t sure what to expect. Since the system we are playing has changed he has made that right wing back role his own. He’s been the find of the season. We often talk about the cliche of ‘being like a new signing’, but given he hasn’t played for Chelsea for three years, he really is.”
(Editing by Toby Davis)