Chelsea v Manchester City: Pellegrini to field youngsters

Manuel Pellegrini, the City manager, has threatened to field a weakened team after the FA bowed to demands from broadcasters to move the game from Saturday

The 62-year-old Manchester City manager Pellegrini was heavily critical of FA's decision to move the match from Saturday to Sunday.   -  REUTERS

Chelsea, still without its injured captain John Terry, will play host to fellow Premier League giant Manchester City, in a FA Cup tie on Sunday.

The build-up to the game has been incident-filled with both the team managers opting for contrasting approaches. Manuel Pellegrini, the City manager, has threatened to field a weakened team after the FA bowed to demands from broadcasters to move the game from Saturday.

City will travel to Dynamo Kiev for a Champions League encounter on Wednesday and then take on Liverpool in the League Cup final a week later on Sunday.

An upset City manager did not mince his words as he described the match against Chelsea as ‘not a real game.’

“I think it's not a real game [against Chelsea], of course; not enough to pay the ticket,” the Chilean told reporters.

“I always give a lot of importance to the cups. They must think why (City is fielding reserves). We always try to play a strong team in the Cups, and it would be very nice to finish with a game at Wembley, but there are some moments when you have to prioritise because you don't receive any help and you could damage your prospects.

“The fans want to see a good game but we told them one week ago that we are going to play a young team. If the people want to continue going to the stadium, that's for them,” said the manager.

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City's elite development squad manager Simon Davies said seven City starlets are likely to be included in Pellegrini's squad after they missed a 1-0 under-21s victory over rivals Manchester United on Saturday.

"We've got some boys involved tomorrow in the game at Chelsea, so it's exciting times," Davies told the Manchester Evening News.

"There's seven boys in the squad - that's all I can tell you at the moment. You'll have to watch the game yourself. There'll be some boys involved and I'm looking forward to seeing how they pitch themselves against top Premier League players."

Defenders Tosin Adarabayio and Cameron Humphreys, winger Brandon Barker and striker David Faupala were omitted from Davies' under-21 side on Saturday, along with forward Bersant Celina and midfielders Manu Garcia and Aleix Garcia - a trio who featured as unused substitutes during last weekend's 2-1 Premier League loss against Tottenham.

Chelsea aiming for silverware

Guus Hiddink, meanwhile, has said that he will give his young guns their chance in the Premier League and not in the FA Cup, as the interim Chelsea manager prioritises silverware.

Chelsea's hopes of a top-four finish are slim at best with the reigning champion siting 12th in the league table and 14 points off fourth-placed Manchester City.

The two face off in the FA Cup on Sunday, and while Pellegrini has suggested the match is “not a real game”, Hiddink said the fixture is taking priority over the club's league commitments.

Putting one of the youngsters in depends on the demands of the FA Cup, but I don’t hesitate putting them in if needed," Hiddink said.

"We have games still to go in the Premier League where there might be more options. I don’t make any guarantees to players but there might be more opportunities for them in the near future. >(Read more)

Head-to-head

This is their third FA Cup meeting in four seasons. Manchester City won the previous two: knocking out holder Chelsea in the 2013 semi-final and then enjoying a convincing 2-0 home win in the fifth round in 2014.

Chelsea has only lost once in the last 17 meetings at Stamford Bridge — a 4-2 league defeat in February 2010 when it had Juliano Belletti and Michael Ballack sent off.