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Pellegrini without two for Chelsea clash

Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini

Fabian Delph and Fernando are the only players missing for boss Manuel Pellegrini ahead of the game with Chelsea at the newly extended Etihad Stadium.

Yaya Toure was substituted out of the West Brom victory holding his groin, but Pellegrini confirmed the Ivorian will be fit to face the visiting title rivals. Gael Clichy faces a late fitness test but has been training with the squad since Thursday.

Toure scored a sublime goal to cap a polished performance against the Baggies on Monday to remind everyone just how influential he can be.

The 32-year-old scored 10 Premier League goals last season – a decent return for a midfielder – but given he scored 20 in 2013/14 pundits were quick to chronicle a perceived decline.

Pellegrini knows only too well what Toure offers when fit and in form though and said: "Every player has good and bad games. I hope he can continue from Monday because he played very well."

The manager added: "I always say Yaya is very important for us. We can play without him, but it’s better he plays. Last season he went to African Nations Cup and the team couldn’t win in the same way. 

"He’s an important player so I hope he will be a regular player, that will be important to our options."

Given the stature of the two sides, some are already billing this is a key moment in the title race, with City have the potential to go five points clear of last season’s champions after just two games.

Pellegrini was not of that opinion, however, reflecting: “We are not thinking about title in our second game but about winning our points at home. 

"We’re playing against champions, against one of the team that has chances to win the title, so to try to win the three points at home is very important."

The game will be played in front of the newly extended Etihad Stadium and Pellegrini is keen to kick off a new era.

"It’s very important to improve and try to be a bigger Club in all senses, so to extend the stadium by 7000 more seats is great for the Club and the fans."

Last few tickets and hospitality remaining for City v Chelsea. Don’t miss this exciting home season opener and buy your ticket or hospitality now. This match also sees the official opening of the newly expanded South Stand. Supporters are asked to take their seats at least 15 minutes before kick-off so they can be a part of the South Stand opening.

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