• Premier League

Chelsea will shut up shop - Zabaleta

ESPN staff
February 3, 2014
Pablo Zabaleta is prepared for another defensive masterclass from Chelsea © PA Photos

Pablo Zabaleta believes Chelsea may come to the Etihad Stadium intent on defending in their top-of-the-table clash on Monday.

Manchester City have a 100% home record in the Premier League this season and have scored 72 goals in 18 games at their own ground in all competitions.

Chelsea have already secured 0-0 draws away at both Manchester United and Arsenal but manager Jose Mourinho accused West Ham of playing '19th-century football' after their stalemate at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

And Zabaleta told City's official website: "Chelsea have some good players and one of the best defensive records in the league, so we'll need to move the ball quickly when we attack and try to break.

"It is hard sometimes to play against sides that come to defend. But it's something we have to be ready for because everyone knows how strong we've been at the Etihad.

"Some teams may come and defend for 90 minutes but it's up to us to figure out a way through."

City manager Manuel Pellegrini thinks Chelsea play a different brand of football to his team.

He said: "I think every team plays the way they want. They have a style of play, maybe it's not the same style that I like, but everyone can play the way they want."

Right-back Zabaleta is likely to come up against the in-form Eden Hazard and he is expecting a tough contest.

He added: "Hazard has been one of the most impressive players around this season and he's done really well for Chelsea.

"He's a great player and as a defender, he's someone you expect to have a difficult match against, but I've been up against him a few times before and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

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