The last time when Chelsea faced Manchester City in the Premier League, Liverpool won the title. However, that is not the case this time. It will be the first game for both teams in this new year. There is no doubt that both Frank Lampard and Pep Guardiola would want to get off to a winning start to the new year.
Though Chelsea made most of the news with the big-spending but Citizens were not behind. Despite the pandemic, both the clubs managed to spend more than $100 million. However, when compared, Guardiola’s team has fared better. Chelsea only has 26 points from 16 games, which is actually their second-worst start in the Abramovich era, second only to Mourinho’s last season.
Frank Lampard hasn’t been able to get the best out of his two-star signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner. There were talks about sacking him as head coach. However, Fabrizio Romano, confirmed that the Chelsea board is behind Lampard but they want to see improvements. The Blues have struggled against top-half opposition and it hardly gets any better than City.
Manchester City also has the same number of points but they have only played 14 games. This season, they haven’t been at their best but many have tipped them do well this season. Under Pep Guardiola we have seen them win games consistently but they haven’t been able to do that this season. They did win their previous two games and Chelsea will be a big test, as they look to avoid dropping points.
In their previous two meetings, Chelsea has won both of them. Though in their previous 12 games, City has only failed to score once. This was in the 2018/19 season when Chelsea beat them 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have a bit of an advantage in this game, as in the previous five meetings the home side has won the game.
However, the home side hasn’t managed to win their first game of the new year since 2016. In their previous four first home games, they have drawn thrice and drawn once. While Manchester City has managed to win their first home game of the year 13 times in the previous 14 years. The only defeat coming in 2012 to Sunderland.
The last time when Manchester City visited Stamford Bridge, Lampard showed tactical maturity. In his first clash against Guardiola, he decided to attack and his team managed more possession than his team. A remarkable feat, however, it was pointless as his team lost 2-1. In the next game, he decided to play on counter attacks and Chelsea won 2-1.
It is likely that he will again decide to play on the counter-attacks. There will be no surprises from Guardiola’s team. They would want more possession and they will try to attack them. The winner of the battle between De Bryune and Kante will be significant in the game. This season, City has relied on him a lot and Chelsea would want to limit his influence in the game.
Team News and Injury Update
Reece James has been ruled out of the game with a hamstring injury. Hakim Ziyech missed Chelsea’s last three games. He is back in training with the first team but he will not start the game.
Pep Guardiola confirmed that five Manchester City players won’t be available for the game. Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker tested positive for Wuhanvirus. Ederson also indicated through his social media that he is self-isolating, however, this hasn’t been confirmed. Eric Garcia is out injured.
Ones to watch out for
Oliver Giroud has been in fine goalscoring form recently. Ben Chilwell has been creating good chances. Kante and Silva will be the key players at the back. Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner, Hudson Odoi and Christian Pulisic will be the players to watch out for.
De Bryune, Sergio Aguero, and Raheem Sterling will look to create chances and score goals. Ruben Dias has managed to establish himself as a key player at the back. Riyad Mahrez and Torres will be the players to watch out for.
Chelsea vs Manchester City: Head to Head
In total, they have faced each other 165 times. Chelsea has won 68 times, Manchester City has won 58 times while the rest of the 39 games have ended up as draws.
Predicted Line-Up and Prediction
Chelsea: Edouard Mendy; Cesar Azpillicueta, Kurt Zouma, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell; Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount; Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud, Timo Werner.
Manchester City: Zack Steffen; Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, John Stones, Benjamin Mendy; Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan; Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling; Sergio Aguero.
Prediction: Chelsea 1 vs Manchester City 2.