Zabaleta expects defensive Chelsea

Pablo Zabaleta believes Chelsea will travel to Manchester City with a safety-first mindset in their Premier League meeting on Monday evening, ESPN has reported.

Three points separate the sides prior to kick-off, with City in second and Chelsea third. Arsenal top the table by virtue of their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday but City will go top if they see off Jose Mourinho’s Blues.

But Zabaleta expects Chelsea to use their defensive strength at the Etihad Stadium – although Zabaleta insists he is still wary of one Chelsea player in particular.

“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,” Zabaleta said.

“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.

“[Eden] 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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