English champions Manchester City are getting ready for their next big Premier League encounter against Chelsea this weekend. The Blues are coming to the Etihad Stadium on the back of an impressive 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace two weeks ago, and are sure to have their tails up, especially considering the form that they’ve been in.
City, on the other hand, have been rather shaky in recent weeks, and even suffered their most painful defeat of the season so far against Liverpool at Anfield last time out. They will be looking to get back to winning ways by dispatching Frank Lampard’s Young Chelsea team. The Blues though haven’t lost away from home in the league since the opening weekend of the campaign, adding further pressure on Pep Guardiola’s shoulders.
The Citizens will have to ensure that their makeshift defence isn’t as shaky as it was against the Reds last time out. Fernandinho will need to keep the rest of the back-line in check, while it will also be crucial for the midfield to try and impact the game properly. Chelsea don’t necessarily press the ball too hard, which means that given time and patience, City’s brilliant runners are bound to unlock the Chelsea back-line eventually.
This game is a whole different ballgame for Chelsea though. The effect of last season’s 6-0 drubbing at the Etihad will be etched in the memory of most fans, but it’s important that the youngsters within the side show maturity and get on top of the situation. Jorginho will have to be at his absolute best in the middle of the park if the Blues have any hopes of even laying a glove on the City defence. Also, Tammy Abraham could be instructed to make sharp runs in behind, in an attempt to catch the City centre-halves out for pace.
One of Manchester City’s long-term misses has been German star Leroy Sané. The young speedster is set to be on the sidelines for another month more at least. Similarly, Oleksandr Zinchenko is another who isn’t expected back until midway through December.
Bernardo Silva, unfortunately, is suspended for this fixture, after he was found guilty of breaching FA codes when he tweeted a picture online. Finally, while Aymeric Laporte’s MCL problem keeps him out, Ederson could be in line to return to the first-team setup.
Manchester City Predicted Lineup: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Mendy; De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling.
Antonio Rudiger and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have both been on the sidelines for a while now, and aren’t expected to make their returns for this fixture either. Frank Lampard confirmed that Ross Barkley could be a doubt for the fixture as well, while Christian Pulisic’s hip problem is currently being assessed.
Chelsea Predicted Lineup: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, Emerson; Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante; Willian, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount.
Fernandinho has been utilised in the centre-half’s role for a while now, and although he’s been sort of a hit and miss, he must deliver on Saturday night. Considering that this is effectively a must-win game for Pep Guardiola as well, stopping the inevitable Chelsea onslaught must be the top priority.
Italian midfielder Jorginho is undoubtedly going to be the Blues’ most key player on the night. If he’s able to control the ball and the pace of the game in the middle of the park, then the youthful Chelsea attack will be given enough opportunities to deliver the all-important winner.
The fact that the Blues have been a free-scoring team this season has certainly helped their odds. Currently, on a five-game win streak on the road, the Blues have scored at least two goals in each of those five games, effectively promising a high-scoring affair. With Tammy Abraham to score anytime at 7/4, a Chelsea win is being priced at 11/2, while a home win can be backed at 2/5.
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