On Saturday, two title contenders face off in a tantalizing Premier League clash.
Champions Manchester City travel to Chelsea in the weekend’s top-level action – live on talkSPORT.
Chelsea have been in superb form this season, winning four of their five matches and drawing once.
The European champions conceded just one goal – a penalty kick in the 1-1 draw at Anfield – and scored for fun with Romelu Lukaku, a £ 97.5million man, who took them away. struck at Stamford Bridge.
They come up against a Man City team looking for revenge, however.
Pep Guardiola’s side were beaten 1-0 in the Champions League final by opponents on Saturday as they fell to the final hurdle, and they will want to get one against the West London club, who has won the last three outings between the teams.
Some incredibly talented players will be featured, but there will also be stars on the bench who may not even get a chance to honor the Stamford Bridge pitch, such is the quality of both teams featured.
With arguably the two strongest teams in the league, it might even be the substitutes that will make the difference on Saturday in the massive title clash.
Thomas Tuchel will likely play a similar side to the one that earned a point at Liverpool earlier this season when Reece James was sent off shortly before half-time in the 1-1 draw.
James, however, could well be on the bench for this game due to the defensive qualities of Cesar Azpilicueta and therefore the evergreen Thiago Silva can fit in at the back.
The Blues’ likely bench is littered with talent and they have plenty of trophies among them.
City of man
Guardiola also has an incredibly talented group of players and that means there will be some big names on the bench for City as well.
Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden could both be substitutes for the game as the Spaniard continues to relieve them after their grueling summer with England at Euro 2020.
The probable bench have all won numerous trophies and all have titles to their name following their Premier League triumph last season.
Each team could name a superstar with phenomenal bench experience.
Either Matteo Kovacic or Kante will sit on the bench to facilitate Tuchel’s three forwards and we think the Frenchman has too many qualities to be ignored in such a big game.
Kovacic is said to be the most decorated player on the Chelsea bench, having won 11 major trophies in his career, including four Champions Leagues.
Major trophies won
Képa Arrizabalaga – 2
Timo Werner – 1
Hakim Ziyech – 3
Ben Chilwell – 1
Trevoh Chalobah – 0
Callum Hudson-Odoi – 2
Matteo Kovacic – 11
Reece James – 1
Saul Niguez – 2
Total Trophies – 23
Zack Steffen – 3
Aymeric Laporte – 7
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 8
Fernandinho – 23
Bernardo Silva – 11
Ferran Torres – 3
Raheem Sterling – 8
Phil Foden – 8
Nathan Ake – 4
Total Trophies – 75
Three were with Real Madrid before adding another to his collection last summer with the Blues.
Trevoh Chalobah has played the least for Chelsea and he is the only possible replacement without a major trophy to his name.
The UEFA Super Cup, where he played in the penalty shoot-out victory over Villarreal in the season’s curtain raiser, is on his list.
Man City ace Fernandinho is expected to be the most decorated player on the opposite bench as the veteran midfielder has won 23 major trophies in his illustrious career, some coming from his time at Shakhtar Donetsk.
He has also had plenty of victories in England, with four Premier League titles to his name, one FA Cup and four League Cups during his time at the Etihad.
Overall, the City bench racked up 75 major trophies, eclipsing Chelsea’s 23.
And both benches will have expensive players on them as well.
Kepa cost the most as he was signed by Chelsea for a record £ 72million at the time before it was broken again this summer with Lukaku signing £ 97.5million .
Werner also cost a pretty penny at £ 47million, while Ziyech arrived for £ 36million and Chilwell cost £ 45million when they were all signed in 2020.
However, the Blues are proud of their academy and James, Chalobah and Hudson-Odoi have all become key players for the club without paying anything.
Kepa Arrizabalaga – £ 72million
Timo Werner – £ 47million
Hakim Ziyech – £ 36million
Ben Chilwell – £ 45million
Trevoh Chalobah – Free
Callum Hudson-Odoi – Free
Matteo Kovacic – £ 40million
Reece James – Free
Saul Niguez – Loan
Total – £ 240million
Zack Steffen – £ 6.1million
Aymeric Laporte – £ 58million
Oleksandr Zinchenko – £ 1.8m
Fernandinho – £ 36million
Bernardo Silva – £ 45million
Ferran Torres – £ 20million
Raheem Sterling – £ 57million
Phil Foden – Free
Nathan Ake – £ 40million
Total – £ 263million
However, City’s success is no accident.
They have spent nearly a billion pounds since Guardiola took over and, like those at Chelsea, the players on the bench would fit into most Premier League sides.
Sterling is the most expensive player on the hypothetical bench, having been moved by the summer signing of £ 100million Jack Grealish.
The English man joined City from Liverpool for £ 57million in 2015 and he could be joined by several other expensive players.
Although academy ace Phil Foden and bargain stars Zack Steffen and Oleksandr Zinchenko mean he should only be worth around £ 23million more than Chelsea’s.
So if the starting stars shown at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon aren’t quite up to the task, Tuchel and Guardiola should easily be able to turn that around.
And after seeing Kante’s display for 45 minutes in the second half against Tottenham last weekend, it’s a game that could really be won in the battle of the benches.
You can listen to Chelsea vs Man City on Saturday, September 25, live on talkSPORT at 12:30 p.m. ET.
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