Only one point separates Manchester City and Chelsea at the top of the table and neither side has lost a league match since the start of October. This could be a game to remember between two of the Premier League’s title favourites, and a battle between two great tacticians. Can City halt Chelsea’s amazing run? Read more below in our Manchester City vs Chelsea match prediction and preview.
Back on Track
City went more than a month without registering a win, but got just the fixtures they needed to find some rhythm again, with four consecutive matches against mid-table or relegation-threatened sides.
The victories against West Brom and Palace were convincing, but Burnley could have got a draw at the weekend, while Middlesbrough held the Citizens at home.
So although progress has been steady, you’d have to say that Chelsea are entering this match in better shape than City.
It’s a nightmare predicting Man City’s lineup, let alone what formation Guardiola will choose. Against Burnley we saw a similar setup to the one that fell short against Spurs a few weeks back.
Maybe to cope with Burnley’s physical approach Guardiola deployed Fernando and Fernandinho in central midfield. And they turned out to be the best players on the pitch in an uninspiring performance from City.
Chelsea are first-class opposition so we’re sure to see de Bruyne and David Silva back in the fold.
Say Yeah for Yaya
It’s probably no coincidence that since his agent stopped insulting the manager in public, Touré has found his way into the first team. And if his return has come as a surprise it’s even more of a shock to see him come back to a high level straight away.
Suddenly Guardiola’s got a selection problem because Touré was exceptional at Palace and was unlucky not to score against Burnley. He’ll feel that he’s done enough to stay in the team, and if he does find himself left out you can bet that Dimitri Seluk will have something to say about it.
Barely a week goes by without the Spanish winger getting into a scrap. He missed three matches for an elbow against Bournemouth, but that doesn't appear to have curbed his aggression.
Guardiola had to bring him off at Turf Moor after he talked himself into a booking. And now it’s only a matter of time before teams start singling him out as an easy red card.
Antonio Conte may have a few tricks up his sleeve to test Nolito’s fiery temperament.
You don’t have to be a City fan to regret Vincent Kompany’s never ending injury problems. Last week he was ruled out until the new year, which means two things:
City will remain a bit soft at the back while Stones develops, even if Otamendi is having a good season. And also that the club may be looking at the transfer window to bring in a new centre-half, as well as that much-needed right-back.
Manchester City Predicted Lineup:
Claudio Bravo; Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Gündoğan; David Silva, de Bruyne, Nolito; Agüero
Biggest Test so far
Something to note about Chelsea exceptional seven-game winning run is the lack of a big test away from home. On the road their hardest fixture has perhaps been Southampton, who they beat quite comfortably.
But Middlesbrough could have got more from their match with the Blues. And it’s not controversial to say that Saturday’s fixture is by far their hardest match since the whipping at Arsenal that started it all.
Against Spurs Conte fielded the same team for a sixth match in a row, the first time Chelsea have done this since the year 1900. With no new injuries he’ll be odds-on to play the same XI at the Etihad.
It’s a reflection of how well this system works for its players, but also shows how light Chelsea’s fixture list has been. With one game a week Conte has no need to rotate, while his players will be at less risk of injury.
But none of this is to take away from the performances. At home to Spurs Chelsea were able to dig deep and produce a blend of individual brilliance and teamwork to seal the win.
First there was the outstanding strike from Pedro to level the match. And then the probing passing move that sliced Spurs open and left Moses with loads of time and space to finish.
At the start of the season you wouldn’t have been blamed if you’d forgotten that Moses was still at Chelsea. The Nigeria international had been shipped out on a series of loans, and even further down the league he was struggling to make a mark.
But that shows how inspired the decision to play him at wing-back has been. He can use all his pace and energy to get up and down the line. And when the ball falls to him in dangerous positions Moses can also be counted on to make something happen, more so than a traditional full-back.
He scored again on Saturday and may feel he has a chance of finding room against Clichy or Kolarov.
Chink in the Armour
If there’s any reason to be fearful it’s the memory of the the first half-hour against Spurs. Tottenham pressed Chelsea high, as City are sure to do, and Conte’s side couldn’t get into the game.
The back three became a back five as Moses and Marcos Alonso retreated to play beside the centre-halfs, and there was no support for the creators further up the field. What we learned is that Chelsea are far better on the front foot.
But the problem is that they’re going to play a team that craves possession, and Chelsea may spend a lot of the match camped in front of their own goal.
Chelsea Predicted Teamsheet:
Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matić, Kanté, Marcos Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard
When Will Manchester City vs Chelsea Take Place?
Saturday 3 December at 12:30 GMT, at Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City vs Chelsea Match Prediction
With Man City at home and Chelsea on fire this one could go either way. Chelsea have clearly been the best team in the league since September, but City have gone unbeaten recently and can call on what has to be the best midfield in the country.
So we’re going right down the middle and tipping an exciting 2-2 draw. We think City will be able to overwhelm the two-man Chelsea midfield in the centre of the park, but Hazard and Diego Costa can do damage against that uncertain City defence.
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