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Other SportsManchester City vs Chelsea: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

Manchester City vs Chelsea: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

The State of Play

Manchester City endured a difficult patch as autumn became winter in 2023, but it’s safe to say they are over that blip.

Pep Guardiola’s side have won 11 consecutive games after resuming their defence of the Champions League trophy with a 3-1 win over Copenhagen in the first leg of the teams’ last-16 tie on Wednesday, with Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden on target.

In the Premier League, the champions have won six on the spin and enter Matchday 25 two points adrift of leaders Liverpool, though the Reds could stretch that gap to five points when they visit Brentford in Saturday’s early kick-off.

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City endured one of their toughest tests of the campaign when they last faced Chelsea in November, playing out a chaotic 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge as their former player Cole Palmer scored a stoppage-time equaliser from the penalty spot.

Chelsea continued to showcase their unpredictable side on Monday. Having trailed by one goal to nil at half-time against Crystal Palace, the Blues put on a bit of a show in the second half to eventually win 3-1, with Conor Gallagher netting twice.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side remain firmly in mid-table, but City will certainly be wary of the threat they pose.

Team News

City recently had the rare blessing of a fully fit squad, but they will be without Jack Grealish this weekend after he was forced off in midweek. Silva, meanwhile, must be assessed after sustaining a knock.

Chelsea have had plenty of injury problems throughout the campaign and remain without captain Reece James, while Thiago Silva is out with a groin problem. However, Pochettino confirmed Levi Colwill, Malo Gusto and Robert Sanchez are available at Friday’s pre-match press conference.

Expected Line-ups

Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Ake; Rodri, Kovacic; Foden, De Bruyne, Doku; Haaland.

Chelsea: Sanchez; Gusto, Disasi, Badiashile, Chilwell; Fernandez, Caicedo; Palmer, Gallagher, Jackson; Nkunku.

What they said

Guardiola on whether he always knew Palmer would succeed at Chelsea:

“If he could play regularly, like it has happened, then yes. We had no doubts about his quality. He is a star player.

“He’s already an exceptional, exceptional player. He moved on and it was only a question of time before he showed his immense quality.”

Pochettino on how Palmer will handle his return to the Etihad Stadium:

“He’s smart, clever, emotionally intelligent. He doesn’t care. He’s going to go there and play. He can play good or not so good, but it’s not because of the pressure.

“He’s not the type of player who needs to prove something. He’s very grateful for his period with City, he left the club because he needed to find another challenge and to play more.

“He has adapted very well, he’s been lucky because he’s playing a lot of games here. He’s going to be there, trying to play and perform for his team.”

When and how to watch

Saturday’s match will be played at the Etihad Stadium at 17:30 and will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK. It can also be streamed live via the Sky Go app.

Prediction

City are the overwhelming favourites for this game, having started 2024 with seven wins from as many outings. However, Chelsea showcased their attacking quality in the reverse fixture and should give it a go.

Given Chelsea’s chaotic, inconsistent nature, we expect City to come out on the right side of a thriller, with 4-2 our correct score prediction.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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