Manchester City are looking to close the gap to Arsenal at the top of the Premier League by five points as they travel to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tonight. Pep Guardiola’s side were frustrated last time out as they were held to a draw by Everton but can capitalize on Arsenal’s stalemate with Newcastle.
Graham Potter will hope Chelsea can secure a much-needed win to get their campaign back on track. The Blues were once again far from convincing as they drew with Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day, and sit tenth in the table heading into this game. They are closer to the relegation zone than City.
Erling Haaland has scored in all three of his side’s appearances since the World Cup and leads the line for City, as Phil Foden and Joao Cancelo return to the starting XI. Mason Mount is ruled out with a knock for Chelsea. Follow all the action with our LIVE blog below, featuring expert analysis from Nizaar Kinsella to Stamford Bridge.
Ride with injury
Mount is out for Chelsea tonight after suffering a knock in training which ruled him out of the game.
Kovacic partners Zakaria in midfield, while Ziyech makes his first Premier League start since Potter took charge at Stamford Bridge.
As for Man City, Cancelo and Foden return to the starting XI, while Walker starts in place of Lewis and Silva seemingly lines up in the top three.
Ake partners Stones in central defense with neither Laporte nor Dias making the squad.
Nizaar Kinsella at Stamford Bridge
Thanks to Denis Zakaria who hasn’t played a single minute of Premier League action since joining Chelsea ahead of the World Cup. He started every game after the World Cup.
Man City team news
Manchester City XI: Ederson, Walker, Pierres, Ake, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Silva, Haaland, Foden
Subtitles: Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Grealish, Alvarez, Gomez, Akanji, Mahrez, Palmer, Lewis.
Chelsea team news
Chelsea XI: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Koulibaly, Silva, Cucurella; Zakaria, Kovacic; Ziyech, Pulisic; Havertz, Sterling
submarines: Bettinelli, Chalobah, Humphreys, Hall, Jorginho, Gallagher Chukwuemeka, Hutchinson, Aubameyang
News from the team will be coming very soon.
Potter with a few decisions to make, and it’s usually pointless trying to guess what Guardiola will do.
Looks like Foden and Cancelo could start for Man City, but we’ll find out for sure soon.
Guardiola: ‘We have to be almost perfect’
Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City must be ‘almost perfect’ if they want to win the Premier League this season.
Ahead of his side’s trip to Stamford Bridge, Guardiola admitted his side were relying on chilling Arsenal to close the gap.
“The way you have to close the gap is to play well and win games,” said the Man City boss.
“(Arsenal) have averaged over 100 points as they have done so far.
“If they continue like this, we won’t catch them. We have to be almost perfect from here and hope they drop their performance – they were great against Newcastle – and we’ll see what happens.”
Chelsea in a real battle
As mentioned, Chelsea have a lot of ground to make up for if they want to break into the top four.
Manchester City and Arsenal look certain, with Newcastle continuing to impress and Manchester United in fine form. Then there is the small problem of Liverpool, who will surely improve at some point, and Tottenham who could step up a gear.
To finish in the top four – final odds:
Manchester United: 4/6
Odds via Betfair.
How’s it going…
Manchester City are currently eight points behind Arsenal, although the Gunners have played one game more. Pep Guardiola’s side will look to close that gap tonight.
As for Chelsea, they now sit tenth in the Premier League, with Fulham and Brentford among those above them.
The Blues can move up to seventh with a win, however, and would still have a game in hand with many around them. They are currently ten points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, having played one game less.
Potter on Guardiola’s Cat
Graham Potter spoke about a five-minute chat with Pep Guardiola after Chelsea’s last game against Manchester City in November.
After Chelsea lost 2-0 to City in the Carabao Cup in November, Potter and Guardiola had a chat and the Blues boss explained what had been said.
“He understands the challenges we have here and he faces similar challenges himself,” Potter said. “It was just a conversation after a match that you have.
“I spoke with Steve [Cooper] after the game [against Nottingham Forest] and it was a similar conversation. It’s good that the managers can talk because it’s complicated when you’re on the touchline, there’s emotion and you fight for points.
“But afterwards it’s nice to talk and talk about the game.”