Good evening, Mr. Mourinho!
The picture you hold in your hand is a Manchester City team photo. To a man, they are quick, strong, and ruthless. Few have stood up to them this season, even fewer have emerged with anything other than shameful defeat. And when they're at home at the Etihad Stadium, they are simply irresistible.
This is the place where you now must go. Your mission José, should you choose to accept it, is to infiltrate this den of tremendous concentrated power with your team of beautiful
eggs hatchlings and emerge with something less than, well, egg on the face. We do not care if you employ 19th Century tactics or call on the sharks with lasers that Mr. Roman has in reserve back at the farm or simply play them off the pitch and leave everybody in England flabbergasted.
We realize that this mission is dangerous and we do not expect your whole team to come back unscathed. After all, nobody has emerged from the Etihad this season with a clean sheet yet. As always, should you or any of your force be caught diving or cheating, we will disavow any knowledge of your actions.
This page will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, José.
Date/Time: Monday, February 3, 2014, 20:00 GMT; 3pm EST; 1:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Forecast: Cloudy, cold, with a decent chance of rain
On TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK); NBCSN, Mun2 (USA); Star Sports HD 2, Star Sports 4 (India)
Online: Sky Go, NOW TV (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra (USA); Star Sports (India)
Manchester City squad news: It's a testament to the depth and quality of the City squad that even with Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri sidelined, nobody expects them to miss a beat. Javi Garcia is out as well, while James Milner may face a late fitness test. Yaya Toure is not suspended, despite hopeful claims to the contrary popping up on Twitter. In fact, nobody is suspended for either team.
After initial inconsistencies, Pellegrini's side have been in absolutely imperious form over the last few months. They're riding a 20-match unbeaten streak in all competitions (18 wins). Their last defeat was away to Sunderland in November, while their last home defeat was by Bayern Munich in October. Bayern's 3-1 win remains the only match that City failed to win from 18 home ties this season.
View from the enemy: Bitter and Blue
Previously: Our recent record against City is a bit atrocious. Since the 2009-10 season, Chelsea have lost 7 of 11 to the "new Chelsea." That record looks even worse if we include the two post-season friendlies. But thanks to Joe Hart, Matija Nastasic, and Fernando Torres, we did snatch a priceless 2-1 victory back in October at the Bridge.