Patience is the key, says Zabaleta
- 01 February 2014 12:26
- Posted by @dclayton_mcfc
Pablo Zabaleta is expecting nothing less than a stern test of City’s title credentials against Chelsea.
The Blues will aim to extend their unbeaten run to 20 matches when Jose Mourinho’s side visit the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening, but Zabaleta believes it will be a tight game with the visitors likely to arrive with the intention of preventing City adding to their recent goal glut.
“It is hard sometimes to play against sides that come to defend and get many men behind the ball, but it’s something we have to be ready for because everyone knows how strong we have been at the Etihad,” he said.
Some teams may come and defend for 90 minutes and try not to concede any goals, but it’s up to us to figure out a way through
“Chelsea have some very good players and they have one of the best defensive records in the Premier League so we’ll need to move the ball quickly when we attack and try to break their defensive lines.”
Zabaleta has been impressed with Eden Hazard’s form so far this season and he knows the Belgian will be a handful on Monday night.
But the Argentina defender won’t be losing any sleep over the potential duel and enjoys pitting himself against talented players.
“Hazard has been one of the most impressive players around this season and he’s done really well for Chelsea,” he said.
“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.”
The Blues hit the Premier League summit after the midweek win over Spurs, while Arsenal and Chelsea both dropped points.
Zabaleta believes Southampton holding the Gunners was easier to call than Mourinho's men failing to beat lowly West Ham.
“Arsenal‘s draw at Southampton wasn’t a surprise because St Mary’s Stadium is a hard place to go and get a result. but I didn’t expect Chelsea to drop points at home to West Ham.
“Sometimes you can have games like that when you have many shots but the ball just won’t go or the finishing is poor but it was a great point for West Ham and it gave us the chance to go top of the table.
Now, for the first time this season, our destiny is in our own hands. Every game is about collecting three points and we need to start on Monday against Chelsea.
“We have already lost to them earlier this season but I think we played really well and didn’t deserve to get beat – it was just one mistake at the end that cost us and it was difficult to take at the time.
“Mentally, it was a huge blow at the time but we came back from that defeat and bounced back really well and I think we learned lessons from that defeat and used them positively.”