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Ex-Man City defender Onuoha on Chelsea clash: Dias vs Lukaku will be key

Former Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha says one key battle against Chelsea today could decide the result.

There will be world class talent all over the pitch when two of the favourites for the title meet at Stamford Bridge, but Onuoha feels Ruben Dias and Romelu Lukaku could provide the most intriguing match-up.

“I think it definitely could be [one of the best battles in the Premier League]," he told mancity.com.

“But if you focus too much on that you forget about their other threats. Chelsea aren't a one man team. I think to try and limit Lukaku gives you a chance, but it doesn't guarantee that you will win the game.

“Dias and whoever is going to be playing back there, they know they are playing against one of the best strikers in the world, so they know you have to be at your best for the whole game to give yourself the best opportunity.

“It is going to be exciting, and I am looking forward to seeing how he does."

Onuoha faced him four times in his career, keeping a clean sheet when his Queens Park Rangers side beat West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup whilst the Belgian was on loan at The Hawthorns in 2012-13.

“When I played against him, his strength was an obvious attribute, but the other thing was that he is incredibly fast and he is not scared to use it," he explained.

“If he senses space, he will make a run and in that Chelsea team there are tonnes of players who can play him in.

“One thing he has gained over the years is a huge sense of confidence. He plays better with his back to goal now and he is a good finisher on both feet.

“He understands his role, stays higher and off the back of that he is good at being able to sniff out chances and being in the right area at the right time.

“It seems really obvious, but not everyone does it and that's why some people score more than others, because they always put themselves into the areas where they know the service will come and they make runs where they know they can have a big influence on the game.

“If there's a ball coming into the box, he is going to be there and if there is a chance to run into the channel, he is going to do it. If there is space for a cut back, he will be looking for it.

“That is because he has a high football IQ and, with the physical attributes he has, you know you'll have to perform better than against other strikers in the league."


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