Preview: Man City v Chelsea
A  goal from Gabriel Jesus separated the sides at Stamford Bridge in September

Kick-Off: 12.30pm (GMT) Saturday 15th January 2022, City of Manchester Stadium

Referee: Craig Pawson

Where to Watch: BT Sport 

Back in September, when Chelsea were sitting at the top of the Premier League table, it was Manchester City who inflicted Thomas Tuchel's first defeat of the new season when they visited Stamford Bridge. Since then, City have replaced Chelsea at the helm and now look to be running away with a consecutive title, if Chelsea have any chance of stopping them, they must come away from the reverse fixture this weekend, with the three points.

At the pre-game press conference Tuchel referenced City as the 'benchmark' in English football, saying that his Chelsea side must face up to this reality.

Prior to City's win in September, Tuchel has had the upper hand over Guardiola in their meetings as managers of these two clubs, most notably with the Champions League victory in Portugal last May. 

Guardiola was keen to hit back and dismiss his opposite numbers claim that City have been 'more lucky' with the impact that Coronavirus has had on their squad and match preparations. With both managers mentioning the impact the ongoing cases have had on their teams ahead of the clash.

City Team News: 

Pep Guardiola will return to the City dugout after returning from a bout of Coronavirus but will likely be without some key players due to a fresh outbreak amongst the team and its staff. When asked, he said "some people are coming, some people are positive again". 

Riyad Mahrez is representing Algeria at the African Cup of Nations but there are no other known absentees, as those who may have contracted COVID-19 are at this time retaining anonymity.

Predicted Line-Up: (3-4-3) Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan, Sterling, Foden, Jesus 

 

Chelsea Team News:

Chelsea will be without Danish defender Andreas Christensen due to Coronavirus, adding to Tuchel's defensive woes, which have seen Ben Chilwell, Trevoh Chalobah and Reece James sidelined this season. Malang Sarr is expected to be handed his fourth consecutive Chelsea start having impressed in recent weeks. 

Blues fans will be hoping to see the partnership of Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku continue to be given the opportunity to develop by Tuchel, with the pair having started the last two matches as a strike force.

Chelsea have not lost a match in the last 18 months when Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic have both been on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes, but it seems unlikely that N'Golo Kante will drop to the bench against the league leaders in a game Chelsea simply must win.

The in-form Kepa continues in goal whilst Edouard Mendy remains on international duty at AFCON with Senegal

Predicted Line-Up: (3-4-3) Kepa, Sarr, Silva, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Mount, Werner, Lukaku

Form Guide:

It's five wins out of the last five for Manchester City in the league!

Chelsea have picked up only one win in their last five league fixtures, with four draws over that period, meaning just seven points out of a possible 15. 

Can Chelsea cause an upset and throw open the title race once more? They can expect to have a fair few neutrals behind them! 

 

 

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