Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester City will be facing off against each other in what is this game-week’s most high profile encounter. Both clubs will be quite keen to pick up the three points, and as it usually is with bigger games like this, form tends to go out the window. The tie could be decided based on whichever team starts off better, as neither has had an extremely comfortable season so far. While Chelsea’s struggles only began recently, Manchester City just haven’t hit their stride as an offensive force just yet. Despite this, both teams are sure to come into this clash all guns blazing, as kicking the new year off in the right fashion will surely be of vital importance.
Frank Lampard has had a number of important injury problems to deal with over recent weeks, but the potential return of Hakim Ziyech to the first-team picture could open up a lot of attacking possibilities for the Blues. The Moroccan’s creativity has been a major miss on the right side. The London club have what is pretty much a full-strength squad to choose from otherwise, but whether or not the likes of Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner are given chances from the start remains to be seen. Reece James missed the last game with a strain, but the Englishman is expected to return as well.
Predicted XI: Mendy, James, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell, Kante, Kovacic, Mount, Pulisic, Abraham, Werner
Pep Guardiola’s side aren’t in the best situation right now in terms of injuries and absences, as some first-team regulars are unavailable as they are isolating after contracting the Coronavirus. English right-back Kyle Walker and Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson are both going to be out of this fixture, while talented striker Gabriel Jesus has been ruled out as well. Ilkay Gundogan could make his way back into the squad for this clash, while young defender Eric Garcia should be able to at least make the bench as well.
Predicted XI: Steffen, Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Mendy, Rodri, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
Here Is The Chelsea Vs Manchester City Tactical Preview:
Chelsea Vs Manchester City Tactical Preview
The Blues are likely to take a more conservative approach than usual for this clash, as going gung-ho against one of Pep Guardiola’s team could be like asking for trouble. Although the London club will certainly press the ball out of possession, it will be done in a much more controlled manner than usual, wherein they will be happy to drop into the spaces and make it hard for City to find a way through. With Werner and Pulisic expected to be bombarding down the flanks, Lampard will be eager to catch the weakened City defence out on the break.
The Citizens are undoubtedly coming into this fixture as favourites to pick up the win, but they will have to be at their free-flowing best to break down what has been a rather solid Chelsea back-line so far this season. The dominance of Thiago Silva in the air makes crosses into the area a futile avenue, so they will likely be best off keeping the ball on the ground. With the Chelsea full-backs expected to attack at every opportunity, Mendy and Cancelo will also have the time and space required to help out in the final third of the pitch, and width could become of utmost importance.
For all the stick that he has received over recent weeks, it must be conceded that Edouard Mendy is undoubtedly a massive upgrade on Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Senegalese stopper will have to be at his absolute best if the Blues hope to keep a clean sheet against the European heavyweights.
Raheem Sterling’s pace and directness will be key to breaking this Chelsea defence down. With James and Chilwell expected to get forward whenever possible, Sterling’s powerful running and dribbling abilities could be their easiest avenue into the Blues’ defensive third.
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