Chelsea vs Manchester City: team news, preview, confirmed XIs
All the latest news and information as Chelsea host Manchester City on Thursday evening with both sides yet to drop a point since the restart.
Chelsea returned to Premier League action with a narrow win over relegation-threatened Aston Villa last week, with substitute Christian Pulisic changing the game within minutes of entering the fray. The American scored Chelsea’s equaliser and will hope to be involved from the start against City after an impressive performance. Frank Lampard’s target this season will be securing Champions League qualification and a win over City would see them move to within a point of Leicester City in third.
Beating this Manchester City side would be a statement of intent for Chelsea who have already announced the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech to bolster their title challenge for next year. Chelsea have only beaten City once in their last seven matches in all competitions but that came in the corresponding fixture last season, with goals from N’Golo Kante and David Luiz giving the Blues a 2-0 win.
Manchester City have been the form side since the Premier League’s restart and have scored eight goals without reply in their first two games. Such is the wealth of talent at Pep Guardiola’s disposal that he has been able to rotate his squad between games and may well do the same on Thursday as his players face a third game in nine days. Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden have been City’s two most impressive players so far and they may start together in midfield against Chelsea.
This is the first real test that City have faced and Guardiola will want to make sure that his side get up to full speed in time for the resumption of the Champions League in August. The title is far out of reach with Liverpool 23 points ahead with eight games to play (seven for The Reds), but a strong end of season run from City could protect their Premier League record of biggest title-winning margin (19 points).
Chelsea confirmed XI vs Manchester City
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso; Kante, Barkley, Willian; Mount, Giroud, Pulisic
Manchester City confirmed XI vs Chelsea
Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Mendy; De Bruyne, Gundogan, Rodri; Mahrez, B. Silva, Sterling
Chelsea vs Manchester City: injuries and suspensions
Chelsea suffered no new injury concerns during their trip to Villa Park and Lampard should have a near-full squad to pick from with midfielder Jorginho’s two-game suspension now over. The only two fitness doubts relate to Callum Hudson-Odoi and Fikayo Tomori who both missed last weekend’s fixture. The England winger will have to undergo a late fitness test to decide if he is able to return from an ankle injury, while Tomori is definitely out with a muscle complaint sustained in training.
For the visitors, their spotless performances have come at the cost of two serious injuries. Young centre-back Eric Garcia was stretchered off towards the end of the win over Arsenal after colliding with goalkeeper Ederson and is being monitored by the club having now been released from hospital.
The other injury worry came against Burnley as Sergio Agüero injured his left knee but is hopeful of playing again this season. The Argentine is believed to have avoided serious ligament damage that could have ended his campaign and the club remain hopeful that he will be fit to return by August.
Chelsea vs Manchester City: what the managers said
Frank Lampard (Chelsea): “It is a big ask because some players who have played 90 minutes [against Aston Villa] when I didn’t expect them to. Some have been out for a while and we’ll need to see how their bodies recover so I will look at that as well.
“It will be a different type of game against City. It will be a team who want to play possession so a big part of our game will be our pressing.”
Pep Guardiola (Manchester City): [On Phil Foden’s performance against Burnley] “I'm happy with him and if he feels it’s his best performance - perfect.
“He plays every time with us since he was promoted to the senior squad and has played a high level. We cannot forget he is just 20 years old. He will be decisive player for this club.”
Chelsea vs Manchester City: prediction
This game looks set up to be an entertaining affair with both sides intent on playing possession-based, ambitious football. Chelsea will hope to improve on Sunday’s performance and have had the benefit of an extra day to recover. However with such strength in depth it is hard to look past the visitors maintaining their winning start and Guardiola’s men should have enough to secure a win at Stamford Bridge. 0-2