Chelsea clash crucial to Manuel Pellegrini

Manchester City head coach Manuel Pellegrini

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Manchester City head coach Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that his side now face a crucial showdown with title rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at the end of the month.

The reigning Premier League champions were beaten 2-0 at home by Arsenal on Sunday to remain five points adrift of the Londoners, who had been hugely impressive a day earlier as they won 5-0 at Swansea City.

And that sets up a crunch clash in the capital on Saturday January 31st, with Chelsea knowing that a win in that fixture would see them move eight points clear of the chasing pack.

Pellegrini told reporters: “The game we play at Stamford Bridge is a very important game. We must close the gap to two points.

“It’s very important to win the next game against Chelsea. I hope we are going to recover and play the way we have been playing so far.”

The Chilean has seen his side drop seven points in their last four league games, being held to draws by both Burnley and Everton, before defeat at the hands of the Gunners.

City’s only victory in their last four Premier League outings was a 3-2 win at home to Sunderland, in which they threw away a two-goal lead before being rescued by a Frank Lampard header.

Lampard was also the main man for City earlier this season when they played host to Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, equalising five minutes from time against his former club after Andre Schurrle had given the visitors the lead.

Meanwhile, City are 16.00 to win the Champions League this season, with Chelsea 7.5

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