Maurizio Sarri has been under increasing pressure at Stamford Bridge, although victory over Pep Guardiola’s men would relieve some of this.
Pep praises Chelsea
Two weeks ago City faced Chelsea in the Premier League, and handed the Londoners their biggest defeat ever in the league, dismantling them 6-0.
Despite this undoubtedly filling Guardiola’s men with confidence, the Spaniard says he doesn’t like having to play Chelsea again in such a short period of time.
"I don't like to play the same team in a short period of time when you have beaten them before," started the City boss.
"They [Chelsea] are incredibly professional players, they are proud and bright and will do extra. We are going to play the type of game you have to play in a final and try to win the title.”
Guardiola also recognises that this title isn’t the most important for his side, who should have bigger fish to fry, although believes his players will be motivated.
"Of course it is not the most important title of the season but once we are here in an amazing stadium against a top side, we want to prepare to win."
Sarri believes his side must start well
This week has been a pretty disastrous one for Sarri and Chelsea.
The west Londoners crashed out of the Emirates FA Cup on Monday, before being handed a transfer ban for the next two transfer windows on Friday.
Sarri’s men started slowly in this game, and the Chelsea boss knows his side won’t be able to do that against the champions of England on Sunday.
“[It would be] a disaster, of course. I think that we played the first 30 minutes without confidence. Nervous.” started Sarri.
“We were unable to move the ball very fast. We were in trouble on their pressing. Then a little bit better in the last 15 minutes of the first half and then, after the first goal, very well."
Both sides with injury concerns
Following a spell without many injuries at all at the Etihad, Guardiola’s men have been hit with a few in recent weeks.
Gabriel Jesus, John Stones and Benjamin Mendy are all doubtful for the Citizens, whilst long term absentee Claudio Bravo is ruled out.
Sarri’s biggest injury concern comes between the sticks, as Kepa Arrizabalaga missed Thursday’s win over Malmo with a hamstring injury. Should the Basque ‘keeper miss out, former City man Willy Caballero will most likely start.
Pedro and Davide Zappacosta have also been suffering with illness this week and are doubtful.
Chelsea predicted XI: Caballero; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante, Barkley; Willian, Hazard, Higuain.
Man City predicted XI: Muric; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, B. Silva, Sterling; Aguero.
Guardiola’s men have been flying thus far this season, and still remain in all four competitions, sparking talk of an unprecedented quadruple.
Sarri’s men currently sit fifth in the Premier League, whilst also being out of the FA Cup - the pressure continues to mount on the man in the Chelsea hot seat, seemingly with every passing game.
Given the circumstances at both clubs, should City win Sunday, it could spark the start of something very special at the Etihad, whilst also potentially ending the Sarri era at the Bridge.