The reigning champions Chelsea travel to Etihad Stadium on Sunday to face the runaway league leaders Manchester City for Round 29 of Premier League. The match is scheduled to start at 04:00 GMT on the 4th of March.
Pep Guardiola secured his first trophy after arriving to England by defeating Arsenal 3-0 in the Carabao Cup final last Sunday. They continued that win, with yet another victory over the Gunners at Emirates Stadium in the Premier League with the same 3-0 scoreline.
The Sky Blues have had a resting time of just over 48 hours, but the massive spending in summer will help them in the moments like these, as Guardiola will have some quality players in the bench who can reintroduce pace in the late minutes of the game.
As for the defending champions, they won’t be too happy on facing City at this point of the season. They lost their Champions League spot to Tottenham after last Sunday’s defeat to Manchester United, and this is a must-win situation if they want to finish in the top four position this campaign.
Antonio Conte’s side have lost three of their last four league games after losing just once in the previous ten. A win against the league leaders will not only provide them the crucial three-points but also some much-needed confidence, especially given only Liverpool have been able to do so this entire season.
Players To Watch
The Argentine striker was crowned as the player of the month for February, netting five times in four matches for City. The 29-year-old has scored five goals in his last four league matches against Chelsea and will be looking forward to adding more goals to his tally when these sides go head-to-head on Sunday.
The 29-year-old stunned the football fans with a brilliant performance in the Champions League tie against Barcelona. He scored a brilliant goal in the second half after hitting the woodwork twice early in the game.
The quick Brazilian has scored three times and assisted once in his last three games, and if they are to escape the Etihad stadium with points on Sunday, the Pensioners will need him at his best.
City won the reverse fixture with a close 1-0 win, thanks to former Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne’s 67th-minute strike.
Chelsea defeated Guardiola’s men with a 3-1 margin when these sides met at Etihad Stadium last year; Willian and Hazard got their name on the scoresheet along with Diego Costa.
Pep Guardiola will be without Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy, who are out with injuries. Fabian Delph is suspended and sits out the final match of his three-match suspension.
Kyle Walker is also a doubt after the Spanish manager revealed that the full-back is suffering from a series of knock and his absence could mean a start for Zinchenko at left-back, with Danilo switching to a right-back role.
Raheem Sterling is expected to start this game, having recovered from a hamstring injury. Belgian defender Kompany played twice in last five days, so will most likely stay out of this fixture and Laporte is expected to fill in his position.
Antonio Conte will be without the defensive midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko along with David Luiz and new signing Ross Barkley, who are out with certain injuries.
Alvaro Morata is also out suffering from a back problem, and we don’t think he will be risked in this fixture.
Manchester City vs Chelsea Lineup (Predicted XI)
Manchester City Lineup (4-3-3)
Danilo (RB), Otamendi (RCB), Laporte (LCB), Zinchenko (LB)
De Bruyne (RCM), Gundogan (CDM), Silva (LCM)
Chelsea Lineup (3-4-3)
Azpilicueta (RCB), Christensen (CB), Rudiger (LCB)
Moses (RWB), Kante (CDM), Fabregas (CDM), Alonso (LWB)
Manchester City vs Chelsea Prediction
The champions-elect City are in the best of their form and look all-out prepared for this fixture. Despite struggling recently, the defending champions will surely give some trouble to Guardiola’s side.
If the Blues want to finish in the top four, they can’t afford to lose points from this point in the league. It’s hard to imagine Chelsea defeating Guardiola’s men at the moment, and we’re rooting for a draw between these powerhouses of Premier League.
Our Prediction: A 2-2 draw.