Manuel Pellegrini admits he faces a decision whether to rush Sergio Aguero back into Manchester City’s starting XI for Sunday’s clash with Premier League champions Chelsea.
Fabregas will be up against Silva for the title of pass master in central midfield.
A battle between two of the most commanding central-midfielders in the league, Yaya Toure and Nemanja Matic are in many ways quite identical. He combines a frightening 6ft 4ins frame with technical abilities.
Aguero is racing to be fit for the tie and it will be good news to Terry and Cahill if he misses it completely.
Manchester City, meanwhile, looked silky smooth in their opening fixture against West Brom. The lack of investment by the team this summer is telling in that Chelsea were the only team on gameweek 1 of the new Premier League season not to field a new signing from the off. The 34-year-old is making every effort to prolong his career and even in the twilight of it there are still few better. The Argentine trio of Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis and Sergio Aguero are still looking for match-fitness, although the star hitman might be given a start in this one.
Kompany is still the “Delta state” whose beating heart pumps energy through the rest of the team.
Pellegrini’s strained relationship with Mourinho is well documented on the back of a long-running rivalry stretching back to their careers in Spanish football, but the City boss resisted the temptation to take advantage of the current storm engulfing the Portuguese coach.
Pellegrini admits it is an important game, but played down the match’s significance coming so early in the campaign.
Manchester City are at the top of the table already with a two-point lead over Chelsea, and if they win on Sunday it will start to create a five point gap over the reigning champs in the early months of the season. The eventual champions usually start with a win, as City did, but two of the last 10 league winners opened with a draw, like Chelsea, and one was defeated.
Pellegrini would not comment on continuing reports claiming City have lodged a £47million bid with Wolfsburg for Kevin de Bruyne or rumours linking the club with apparent Manchester United target Pedro of Barcelona.
The Harlesden-raised Sterling played on the left against West Brom so could well be pitted against Ivanovic, who is one of Chelsea’s most influential players, providing constant drive on the right-hand side.
Watford returned to the Premier League grabbing a point away at Everton and were unlucky to come away with all three conceding only in the 86 minute after going 2-1 up in the 83.