Chelsea visits the champions on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City meets Chelsea on Saturday in the Premier League, as Pep Guardiola’s side faces yet another significant hurdle in their deeply difficult defense of the crown.
Although City lost to Liverpool by 3-1 before the international break, Chelsea took the road to the northwest with six consecutive victories.
City were beaten in their last game by league leaders Liverpool, as the Reds pushed nine points away from the side of Pep Guardiola. But the young Blues of Frank Lampard are one of the season’s surprise packages, and are in third place, a point above City.
There wasn’t much between the two clubs in the game before the international break, with City showing enough to suggest that the setback isn’t going to have a long-lasting effect. While Chelsea is the division’s form team, there is an argument that this is the perfect match-up for Guardiola’s team as they search for a claim. Perhaps Guardiola’s biggest concern is that his side was below their best in three consecutive games, with a narrow win over Southampton and a hard-fought draw coming out at Atalanta BC before the Liverpool visit.
That said, if City had shown a clinical touch during the early stages of those outings, it would have been a different story, and that’s something that Chelsea should be mindful of before this clash. Though, city had their issues at the other end of the pitch, and they’ll possibly have to make significant changes to nullify an impressive Blues attack. Nevertheless, this is the type of game where an early goal will change the match’s dynamics, and you wouldn’t go home against City running wild. if they could crack the Chelsea backline during the opening quarter, just as they did in the corresponding fixture of last season.
Nevertheless, the young blues side is still a work in progress, and Lampard himself must know that his new squad will continue to work hard to match the long-term likes of City and Liverpool. Nevertheless, the Englishman will be excited about the challenge that awaits his team on Saturday night, despite a significant gulf in class and experience between the teams. The 4-0 loss at Manchester United’s hands on the campaign’s opening day is still fresh in mind, but the humbling at Old Trafford actually served as a catalyst for the West Londoners to make the changes necessary to keep them in the mix at the right end of the table.
Chelsea is far from the finished article in defence, but during the closing stages of games, three of the last four goals they have conceded have came from their own lack of concentration. Those lessons have come at the right time, but now it is up to his defensive players to show that they are learning from errors that could have led to defeats. Given the numerous calls for their attacking displays that have been earned, Chelsea is still wasting too many opportunities, something that can not continue to happen on the weekend.
To some extent, Chelsea does not bear much tension going into the game, but Lampard knows that his players have a chance to move four points away from City in the table, a lead that a few months ago would have been considered extremely unlikely.
City will be without Bernardo Silva who is suspended, while Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sane, and Oleksandr Zinchenko will all be absent with injury.
N’Golo Kante is back in contention for Chelsea as he returns from his own injury issues, although it remains to be seen whether he will be risked against City.
In contrast, after missing out on the U.S. match against Canada during the international break, Christian Pulisic is a doubt. Having established himself as a key asset for the Blues in recent weeks, he would be a big loss for Lampard.
Ross Barkley, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are all missing for the Londoners.
Man City has lost more games of the Premier League against Chelsea (25) compared to any other side of the competition.
Chelsea has won one and lost three of our last four games against Man City in the Premier League, including their worst loss in last season’s corresponding fixture.
This is just the fifth time Manchester City has played Chelsea in a Premier League game in the table just below us in the last nine seasons. In that time, the Citizens did not win any of the previous four (two sketches, two defeats).
In all competitions, City has prevented Chelsea from scoring during five of the last six games.
Pep Guardiola and Frank Lampard will be meeting as managers for the first time in a competitive fixture.
Chelsea will be full of confidence before taking on the men of Guardiola, but after falling short at Anfield, City is motivated to produce a clinical response. While the visitors could make an impact in the final third, at the opposite end of the pitch, we feel they might be overpowered.
It’ll be an open game, so Jorginho and Kante may have to sit deeper than they’ve been so far. I think Chelsea has to stay in the game for about 70 minutes and then, if possible, try to adapt to the situation.
I don’t know who Pep is going to pick because at the moment they’re so weak in defense. It would be a huge blow to skip Ederson.
It’s far from over the title race. Liverpool is in a great position, but they could draw three times in three or four games over the festive period and the title race will immediately be back on-they did it last year.