Table-toppers Manchester City make the trip down to London to face off against Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea as Cole Palmer gets ready to battle his boyhood club.
Fresh off the back of a 3-0 midweek victory against BSC Young Boys in the Champions League, Manchester City face a Chelsea side who have struggled for consistent form this season.
Despite a slight period of struggle for Guardiola’s side a month ago in the absence of Rodri, the Manchester-based team have been near-enough faultless this season. Phil Foden, Erling Haaland and Julián Álvarez have been firing on all cylinders in attack.
This was shown by the win against BSC Young Boys. Goalscoring phenom Erling Haaland opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Matheus Nunes was adjudged to have been fouled after a nice turn in the box.
Foden doubled the Cityzen’s lead on the brink of half-time. Grealish played it wide to his fellow Englishman before the number 47 dribbled round the outside of his marker and fired a shot low into the far corner.
Haaland, who had already netted once, added a third for City with a delightful effort from the edge of the penalty box.
This weekend poses a different test, however. Chelsea, under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, have looked better than they have done in recent times. Yet, they are still an inconsistent team despite having players capable of performing to a higher level than they have demonstrated thus far.
It also represents the return of Cole Palmer who left his boyhood club, Manchester City, for Chelsea in a deal which saw Todd Boehly pay an initial £40 million for his services and hand Palmer a seven-year deal.
Thus far, his performances have been encouraging. In nine Premier League appearances, he’s contributed three goals and two assists.
Whilst Chelsea have struggled against deep-defensives this campaign, that won’t be an issue for them against a Guardiola side that rarely deviates from his philosophy of possession-oriented football.
If Pochettino’s defence can stand strong, they may have some joy on the counter-attack as they’re very good on the transition. The likes of former City-man Raheem Sterling, Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and Nicolas Jackson all have the pace to threaten in behind whilst Palmer, playing off the right side brings the creativity to the side as shown by his output since his move.
Despite having the aforementioned threat, Chelsea have still been wasteful in attack even though they put four past nine-man Tottenham Hotspur in their last match. Their inability to time their runs was shown by the number of times Spurs’ highline caught Chelsea attackers offside. This could be a tactic that Guardiola decides to deploy.
Manchester City, though, are still the favourites coming into this tie. There’s no doubt about it. Chelsea are a good side littered with talent but due to their inconsistencies this season.
Manchester City will take on Chelsea on Sunday 12th November at Stamford Bridge, with kick-off scheduled for 16:30 GMT.
World-class defender John Stones is set to miss out on this weekend’s trip to Stamford Bridge as he was forced off at half-time in the 3-0 win versus BSC Young Boys.
Swiss international Manuel Akanji has been declared fit for action by his manager. The defender trained on Friday and is likely to be involved on Sunday.
Playmaker Kevin De Bruyne is getting closer to making a return but is not going to feature within the next few weeks.
Chelsea are littered with injury problems. Star forward Christopher Nkunku is still not ready to make his first Premier league appearance although he is edging closer to full fitness.
Englishmen Trevoh Chalobah and Ben Chilwell are continuing rehabilitation programmes for their respective injuries. Carney Chukwuemeka is also still not fit following the injury he picked up against West Ham United towards the start of this campaign.
Young defender Wesley Fofana is still recovering from an ACL injury he sustained in July and won’t be available for selection. Romeo Lavia, who is yet to make an appearance for his new club, will also be unavailable.
Pochettino offered some positive news for Chelsea fans with the news that forward Armando Broja may be fit enough for the bench.
Head to Head
These two goliath football clubs have locked horns 175 times over time. The record is fairly even with Chelsea just edging it on wins. Manchester City have won 65 times to Chelsea’s 71.
Last season saw the treble-winners face Chelsea four times: twice in the Premier League and once in each cup. Guardiola’s side ran out winners each time with a clean sheet on each occasion.
The standout result was the 4-0 win in the FA Cup. Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. The Algerian and Julián Álvarez both converted from the penalty spot on either side of a Phil Foden goal.
–Manchester City have won their last three Premier League away games against Sunday’s opponents. This is as many wins as they had in their previous 22 visits to Stamford Bridge.
–Chelsea have lost their last six fixtures against the Cityzens without scoring.
–Manchester City won 6-1 against Bournemouth which represented the 12th time they’d scored six goals in Premier League game under their Catalan manager.
–Chelsea have won three of their last five Premier League matches. They’d previously only won two matches in their last 18.
-If Chelsea lose, it’ll be the first time since 1986 the home side have lost nine games at Stamford Bridge in a calendar year.
How to Watch
For fans in the United Kingdom, the match will be televised on Sky Sports Premier League, with radio commentary being provided by BBC Radio 5 Live.
For fans living elsewhere, you can find the complete TV listings here!
You can also follow the match on the City Xtra YouTube channel via our live Watchalong show!
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