The Saturday lunchtime kick off will see the Premier League’s most in form side head to the Etihad to take on the title favourites in a clash of the titans as Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte come head to head. Chelsea have won just three of the last ten clashes between the two sides in the league, with City winning on four occasions, and the London team will be out for revenge after two 3-0 defeats last season.
After a blip in form, Guardiola’s Manchester City are back on form and are now unbeaten in six games in all competitions, with four wins in that streak including their thrashing of Barcelona. Last weekend they were tested by Burnley but emerged victorious, following on from victories over Crystal Palace and West Brom and a draw with Middlesbrough. Against the top sides, the Citizens have been unpredictable, beating Manchester United with ease but then being beaten effortlessly by Tottenham.
Chelsea conceded for the first time in over 10 hours of football up against Tottenham last weekend as they came from behind to win a vital derby at Stamford Bridge. The Blues remain on a run of seven consecutive wins as they push the top of the table after a poor start saw them beaten by Liverpool and Arsenal, but they have now shown their quality with results such as the convincing wins over Spurs and Manchester United.
Manchester City predicted starting XI Chelsea predicted starting XI
Yaya Toure’s absence will be the most notable change for Pep Guardiola as Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Fernando and Nolito are also expected to be dropped as Guardiola rotates to his preferred eleven after resting a number of key figures against Burnley last weekend. Nolito may figure if Raheem Sterling is unable to prove his fitness.
Chelsea are expected to name an unchanged line-up for the seventh consecutive match as Antonio Conte seeks to maintain the faith in a side which has so far produced the goods for him.
Suspensions and Injuries
Raheem Sterling is a doubt after picking up a knock against Burnley last weekend which forced him off, with it remaining to be seen if he will overcome that in time for this weekend. Fabian Delph is nearing a return from a groin injury and could take up a place on the bench if selected but Vincent Kompany is a long term absentee with a knee injury.
For the Blues, John Terry will be the only major absence as he continues to recover from the muscular injury which saw him miss the derby with Tottenham last weekend. Mikel John Obi will also miss out with a similar problem but is unlikely to be missed given he is yet to play this season.
This is one of the most important fixtures of the season and could prove pivotal for both sides and a number of other contenders when it comes to the end of the season and the title challenge. The safe bet would be a draw, Chelsea’s form may see them sneak a win but this will be a much tougher test of their credentials than Tottenham last weekend where they nearly came unstuck.
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