The Blues head to the Etihad Arena to take on Manchester City later today, with John Mikel Obi urging his team-mates to approach the game in a positive manner.
Roberto Mancini’s side currently have a four point lead over us in the Premier League table, and the Nigerian is aware of the significance of securing the right result.
‘It will be an important game for both teams,’ said the 25-year-old. ‘If we can beat them it will enable us to narrow the gap. It will be a difficult game, but it’s a match we’re looking forward to and we’re confident of getting three points.
‘If you look at their side, when they play against teams outside the top four they sometimes struggle a bit, but when they play big games they always turn up.
‘It will be a difficult game for us but we need to take the game to them rather than just sit back, if we do that we will have a good chance.
‘It’s a real statement if we win, and that’s what we’ll be trying to do. We will go there with a game plan to not concede in the first half, and then we’ll come out for the second half with a very good chance of winning the game.’
The Blues last won away at Manchester City back in 2008, when goals from Ricardo Carvalho, Nicolas Anelka and Frank Lampard helped us to a 3-1 victory.
In recent years, however, City’s home record had been one of their major strengths, with Manchester United to only side to have won at the Etihad in the league over the course of the past two seasons.
With so many talented players at their disposal, Mikel is aware the task is a big one, and he singled out a midfield rival as one of the men we will need to keep quiet if we are to stand any chance of securing the right result.
‘Yaya Toure is always a key player for Manchester City, especially when he plays slightly further forward and not in a defensive role,’ he said.
‘When he charges up front that’s when he’s so dangerous. It surprises me he doesn’t play there more often, but when they are struggling Mancini tends to throw him forward.
‘If I’m selected to play I will need to think of how to deal with Yaya. You have to try not to let him run beyond you, if you commit yourself he’s gone.
‘He’s always a threat but so is their whole team. You look up front where they have [Carlos] Tevez and [Sergio] Aguero, whoever plays in attack is dangerous, they are such a good side.’
Having played his first game for Chelsea since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Sparta Prague, the midfielder is feeling fresh and confident.
Tasting success on the international stage, however, has by no means quenched his thirst for club glory, as he explained.
‘Every big tournament you win seems to take you to another level, both as a player and a person,’ said Mikel.
‘You mature by winning major trophies, that’s what it’s done for me since I’ve been at Chelsea, I’ve won pretty much everything but I’m still hungry for success.’