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Premier League: Chelsea vs Manchester City Preview

Only a few months ago, Chelsea and Manchester City went head-to-head in the final of the UEFA Champions League in a battle for European supremacy. On that occasion, a lone Kai Havertz goal ensured Thomas Tuchel men had the last laugh as The Blues lifted the second Champions League in their history. Meanwhile, the wait for Europe’s top prize extends for Guardiola’s men.

Several months down the line, they will now take on each other in what is expected to be an equally fiery Premier League clash. Both Chelsea and Manchester City are among the favourites to lift the domestic league this season and this game could be a real indication of which side has the edge. Both Chelsea and Manchester City are extremely well-oiled units managed by two technical geniuses in Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola who often adhere to a similar philosophy of football.

Without further ado, let’s take an in-depth look at both the sides to see who might have the upper hand going into this fixture.

 

CHELSEA IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON

Having played five matches so far, The Blues are on top of the league and are on an unbeaten run. They have won four matches and have only dropped points against Liverpool at home.

Chelsea began their Premier League season with a 3-0 mauling of Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. Romelu Lukaku found the back of the net against Arsenal on his second Premier Legaue debut with Chelsea and Reece James also got on the scoresheet.

The 1-1 draw with Liverpool proved to be a thriller. Kai Havertz opened the scoring for Chelsea before Mo Salah equalized in the dying minutes of the first half from the penalty spot. The Blues also had to suffer after Reece James got sent off.

They won their next two matches against Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur by comfortable 3-0 margins. Tuchel’s side have scored 12 goals in the Premier League this season, a number bettered only by Manchester United. They have also conceded just one goal in five matches – the joint-lowest in the league along with Liverpool and their opponents this weekend Manchester City.

PREDICTED LINEUP AND TACTICS AGAINST MANCHESTER CITY

Thomas Tuchel has played a three-man defence in most of his games so far. The back three of Rudiger, Christensen, and Thiago Silva essentially transforms into a back-five when out of possession as the wing-backs tuck inside. Reece James is expected to return to the side following his suspension in the previous game.

In midfield, Chelsea might start with Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho as N’Golo Kante continues to get back to his peak fitness. Mason Mount and Kai Havertz play just behind Romelu Lukaku upfront who will be fancying his chances against the City defence.

Probable Playing XI (3-4-2-1): Edouard Mendy, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Reece James, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Romelu Lukaku

 

MANCHESTER CITY IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON

Manchester City, in contrast, had a horrible start to their 2021/22 season of the Premier League. They suffered a 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at home in their season opener. However, they bounced back strongly in their next couple of fixtures against Norwich City and Arsenal, registering a 5-0 scoreline in both the game.

City edged past Leicester City 1-0 thanks to a Bernardo Silva goal. However, they ended up dropping points against Southampton in the very next fixture. Guardiola’s men were held to a goalless draw which saw them slip to the fifth position on the table with 10 points to their name.

 

PREDICTED LINEUPS AND TACTICS AGAINST CHELSEA

Pep Guardiola is likely to persist with his usual 4-3-3 formation that begins with Ederson in goal. Nathan Ake has been in impressive form over the last few matches and Guardiola might be tempted to start with him partnering Ruben Dias in central defence. Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo are expected to take up their usual positions on either flank.

Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva who started the match against Southampton could well be replaced by Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne respectively. De Bruyne started in City’s mid-week EFL Cup fixture against Wycombe and also got on the scoresheet.

Jack Grealish, who found the back of the net against RB Leipzig is expected to keep his position on the left side of the attack which might get rounded off with Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez. Torres, usually a winger, has been employed as a False 9 this season and is yet to get into his stride.

Probable Playing XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Joao Cancelo, Nathan Ake, Ruben Dias, Kyle Walker; Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne; Riyad Mahrez, Ferran Torres, Jack Grealish.

 

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