Just one Chelsea player good enough to break into Man City’s XI

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With Chelsea’s trip to the imposing Etihad Stadium to face Manuel Pellegrini’s all-conquering Manchester City side billed as a title decider, it looks like the race to win the Premier League is a foregone conclusion if our combined XI is anything to go by.

Even the match-betting market suggests Chelsea are up against it for the game, with Ladbrokes pricing them as the 7/2 outsiders to win the clash. City are handed 17/20 favouritism, with a draw available at 13/5.

It’s no surprise that just one Stamford Bridge player is able to crack Man City’s dominance in our Mix ‘n’ Match XI, but do you agree with the selection?

City-Chelsea-Combined-XI-3-2-14

For all his flapping and faffing, Joe Hart has been the league’s clean-sheet leader for three straight seasons. Meanwhile the much-heralded Petr Cech has claimed the same award just twice going into his 10th Premier League campaign, so his snubbing is a no-brainer.

In defence only John Terry can lay claim to a place in the City stopping-section, although when fit Matija Nastasic is a quicker, more athletic version and gets the nod ahead of him. Vincent Kompany’s talents are of world-class level, as are Pablo Zabaleta’s while Aleksandar Kolarov’s dead-ball prowess is a real feather in his cap over the likes of Ashley Cole and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Yaya Toure’s 12 top-flight goals make him the best-scoring midfielder in the division, usurping Frank Lampard in the process, and his partnership with Fernandinho is flourishing with every passing match.

Eden Hazard, who is in such cracking form that he’s been touted as a future Ballon d’Or winner (by himself), can hold his head up high in ousting Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri on the wing, with creator-in-chief David Silva lining up on the opposite flank and the lethal Sergio Aguero operating in the number 10 role.

With Chelsea’s strikers notoriously failing in comparison with the rest of the league’s elite, Alvaro Negredo walks uncontested into the starting lineup with nine league goals to date.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.