Date: Sunday 10th February 2019
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
If Pep Guardiola is calling today’s game “a real final”, it’s got less to do with our visit to the Etihad this afternoon and more to do with Liverpool breezing past Bournemouth yesterday. The world and his wife have already well and truly written off our chances of getting anything from this one and I’m not sure we have any real argument against that assumption.
We looked much better against Huddersfield and there were some positives to be taken, particularly the understanding Hazard and Higuain seem to have developed already. City are no Huddersfield though, and they’ll be looking to pinch top spot back from Liverpool as quickly as possible.
We dropped out of the top 4 yesterday with United’s win against Fulham and I don’t see that position changing any time soon.
Going into today’s game, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, says “At Chelsea, I understand what they want to do and they are doing it. Good organisation, offensive and defensive, they know what they want to do. It’s a final for us. We have to play in that way. We have played one more game. But we cannot deny it. A few days ago we could be seven points behind.”
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri meanwhile, says “At the moment, in my opinion, Manchester City are the best team in Europe. They are an example for every club.
We need to work. Guardiola is in the third season in the Premier League, Klopp in the fourth or fifth, but we need to work. I don’t know another way. We need only to work and try to reduce the gap.
I think we were lucky (against City in December), because we scored in a very difficult moment of the match. In that match we defended really very well because they had only three goal opportunities, no more. It’s not easy against Man City to give them only three, four opportunities. At home, I think they’ve scored 43 goals in 13 matches. More than three on average. We need to defend really very well.”
For Manchester City, Benjamin Mendy, Vincent Kompany and Claudio Bravo are all out but Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling should both return after a rest for Wednesday’s game against Everton.
For Chelsea, Callum Hudson-Odoi (fever) and Gary Cahill (back) are not available although Antonio Rudiger (knee) could return.
MANCHESTER CITY (Possible line-up): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Laporte; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, D Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Willian, Higuain, Hazard
Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea (4th March 2018)
CURRENT FORM (PL)
MANCHESTER CITY: WWWLWW
- Manchester City have already beaten Chelsea 2-0 in the Community Shield this season
- Chelsea have beaten Manchester City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the league this season
- Manchester City have lost 25 Premier League matches against Chelsea.
- Chelsea are the only side to win more than two top-flight fixtures against a team managed by Pep Guardiola.
- City have the division’s best home record this season, with 12 wins from 13 games.
- Manchester City have scored 27 goals in their past five games at the Etihad Stadium in all competitions.
- Manchester City have dropped 16 points this season, two more than in the whole of 2017-18.
- Three of City’s four league defeats this season came after they scored the opening goal.
- Chelsea could equal the club Premier League record of failing to score in three consecutive away fixtures
- Chelsea could lose four successive away matches in all competitions for the first time since January to March last year.
- Chelsea are winless in six Premier League away fixtures against established top-six rivals, losing each of the last four.
BBC Sport: Man City 2-1 Chelsea
Sky Sports: Man City 3-1 Chelsea
Sportsmole: Man City 2-1 Chelsea