At the beginning of the season, a February clash between Manchester City and Chelsea would have been seen as a truly marquee encounter between two teams with plenty to play for. Any game between the second and third best teams in England is worth watching, without a doubt, but a lot of the luster has disappeared from this fixture.
Both sides are simply treading water, having seasons that can be considered neither good, nor disastrous. City could catch Manchester United in a miracle scenario and Chelsea could fall out of the top four with a collapse, but both scenarios seem unlikely. City and Chelsea seem to be fighting to live another day, just making sure that they don't dig a hole for themselves heading into next season.
City trail Manchester United by 15 points, but a fall below all of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal would be unimaginable. Chelsea are only one point above Spurs, but their goal differential of plus-27 suggests that a fall below fourth place is unlikely. Rafael Benitez and Roberto Mancini are both virtual dead men walking, hoping to secure enough positive results to save their jobs for next season, but that's likely to prove a futile endeavor for both men.
So, what's the point of this game anyway? Really, it's just self-preservation. Both teams are trying to see off a collapse. Hopefully that doesn't result in a bore draw.
Manchester City injuries and suspensions
Chelsea injuries and suspensions
Out: Oriol Romeu (knee).
Richards and Romeu are both long-term injury concerns. Chelsea might have some fitness issues after playing on Thursday, but have no other injuries. Mancini will be hoping that Kompany and Barry can pass late fitness tests to make themselves available.
Match date/time: Sunday, 1:30 p.m. local, 8:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Ethiad Stadium, Manchester, England
TV: Sky Sports 1 (U.K.), FOX Soccer (U.S.), Sportsnet World (Canada)