Manchester City will be looking to keep up with league leaders Liverpool but could stumble in their pursuit for back to back league titles when Chelsea head to the Etihad. It’s a dress rehearsal for the EFL Cup final, with both teams set to face off at Wembley in two weeks’ time. As ever, you will be able to follow all the action Live & Exclusive with beIN SPORTS.
Man City returned to the top of the table midweek, following a 2-0 win against Everton. However, their stint at the summit was only temporary after Liverpool cruised to a 3-0 win over Bournemouth to leapfrog them to top spot.
Now the pressure is firmly on Pep’s side to pick up the win and keep pace with Liverpool. The last time the sides faced off in December Chelsea had the upper hand winning 2-0 thanks to goals from N’Golo Kante & David Luiz, inflicting the Citizens first defeat of the season.
In team news, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are widely expected to be in the starting lineup after being rested against Everton. Leroy Sane is widely expected to continue on the left wing after impressing midweek. Benjamin Mendy is still recovering from a knee injury, fresh from scoring against Everton Aymeric Laporte is again expected to come in at left-back.
Manchester City Predicted Team - Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Laporte; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, D Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
As for Chelsea, they promptly recovered from their 4-0 shock thrashing by Bournemouth with a 5-0 home win against Huddersfield last weekend. However, the challenge posed by Man City will be harder for Maurizio Sarri who has already defeated Manchester City already this season.
The Blues are currently 15 points from the top of the table and have been drawn into a battle for fourth place following the resurgence of Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. For now, Chelsea is in fifth place just a point behind the Red Devils. The game at the Etihad starts a tricky run of fixtures, which includes an away trip to Malmo and the visit of United to Stamford Bridge.
In team news, Sarri has a fully fit squad to choose from for the visit to the Champions. One expected change is the return of German defender Antonio Rudiger into the side replacing Andreas Christensen. Sarri is widely expected to keep faith in the side that breezed past the Terriers. January signing Gonzalo Higuain scored his first goals as a Chelsea player and should be leading the line in Manchester. The Argentine striker has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Sarri whilst at Napoli and will be eager to get on the scoresheet against Man City.
Chelsea Predicted Team - Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Willian, Higuain, Hazard
It certainly promises to be a fascinating encounter as Manchester City take on Chelsea, as ever you can catch all the action Live & Exclusive with beIN SPORTS.