The business end of the prestigious English Premier League season is in full force and the race is on for eventual winners and Champions League qualifying teams. Liverpool are currently ahead of the pack and Jurgen Klopp is looking to lead his side to their first ever league title in the Premier league era. Pep Guardiola and the Cityzens are hot on Liverpool’s trail as they look to successfully defend the crown they won in record breaking fashion last season. Can Liverpool hold on? Will Manchester City hold the trophy again? Which teams will make up the top four? All will be answered in due course. Ghanafans.com today brings to you the preview of a highly anticipated fixture between Manchester City and Chelsea involving the history of meetings between the two teams, team news, combined XI, key players and possible outcome of the match.
On 7th December 1907, Chelsea and Manchester City battled for the first time in the League Division one. The game ended 2-2 and both sets of fans looked to more exciting fixtures in the future.
160 more matches have been played after that and the records go in Chelsea’s favour; 67 wins, 39 stalemates and 55 wins for the Cityzens.
Chelsea still holds the advantage in the Premier League era (began on 20th February 1992) with 25 victories and 11 losses in the 43 meetings.
In recent memory however, Pep Guardiola’s side have been a handful for the Blues in the Premier League (4W 3L).
Pep Guardiola will hope to avenge the 2-0 defeat in December and Maurizio Sarri will hope to repeat the tactical brilliance he exhibited in his last game against Manchester City.
In the case of Manchester City, they will have to make do without the services of Benjamin Mendy, Vincent Kompany and Claudio Bravo.
Benjamin Mendy in particular is a huge loss for Pep as he is the most dangerous full back for the Sky Blues going forward.
Probable XI: Ederson, Laporte, Otamendi, Stones, Walker, Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne,David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva.
Maurizio Sarri expects to have Antonio Rudiger fit for the tie after the knee injury that saw him miss the last league fixture.
There are some doubts about Gary Cahill (back injury) and Callum Hudson Odoi (fever). They can hopefully make it to the squad today.
Probable XI: Kepa, Alonso, David Luiz, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Hazard, Higuain, Pedro.
This is a really tough one to pick from as both keepers have 11 clean sheets in similar appearances. They also excel in different aspects. I would however give a very slight edge to Kepa in this one. His 2.08 saves per game and a save success rate of 69.33% compared to Ederson’s 1.62 and 67.74% makes him a suitable candidate as the last line of defense.
This is an easier one to choose from. Cesar Azpilicueta trumps Walker in both defense and attack this season. The Spaniard has won more tackles (38 to 22), made more clearances (41 to 25), won more aerial battles (41 to 33) and assisted more goals (2-1) and created more big chances (4-0). Cesar is definitely my pick for that position.
Aymeric Laporte has barely put a foot wrong this season and therefore makes one of the center back pairing. His 92.15% pass completion shows how excellent he is at playing the ball from the back and the best part is only 101 of his 2216 passes attempted have been backwards. He has also shown his defensive prowess with 6 blocks, 30 interceptions and 13 tackles won. Laporte is an easy choice in this one.
David Luiz has shown how dangerous he can be in attack this season with 2 goals, 2 assists, 9 big chances created and an amazing 35 through balls from the center back position. He is just as excellent in the other end of the field with 11 blocks, 23 interceptions, 21 tackles won, 105 clearances and 52 aerial battles won. This makes him a suitable partner for Laporte.
With Benjamin Mendy out of the fixture, Marcos Alonso is the next best choice to slot in at left back over Danilo. Alonso offers more on attack and that is highlighted by his assists (3-0), big chances created (2-0) and through balls (2-0). It is the same story defensively as well with Alonso leading in interceptions (28-11), tackles won (30-9), clearances (61-18) and aerial battles won (43-16). It is not much of an argument between the two.
Fernandinho is the suitable candidate for this one. The Brazilian has been really key for Pep Guardiola this season and the tactician expressed his fear when the Brazilian went on injury. 38 tackles won, 34 interceptions, 63 clearances and 60 aerial battles won makes Pep’s point clearer.
Bernardo Silva has been a revelation for Pep Guardiola this season and the Spaniard expressed his trust in him by saying it would be the case of “Bernardo and ten others” before their trip to Everton during the midweek. His 5 goals, 6 assists, 6 big chances created and 25 tackles won makes him one of the midfield trio for this one. He also has the ability to feature in the right side of attack making him a very dangerous player to come up against.
The last to complete the trio in my opinion is David Silva. The veteran has performed consistently for the Cityzens this season and has been one of the first names of the team sheet. He has scored 6 so far and assisted 4. He has shown his creativity by creating 11 big chances for his team mates and he will hope to continue in that trend later today.
The best choice is of course Eden Hazard. The 2015 PFA player of the year has had his second best assist tally in the Premier League with 10 and has scored a remarkable 12 so far. He has also shown his creativity with 12 big chances created. Hazard will hope to replicate his performance in the 2-0 win over today’s opponents in December.
Raheem Sterling is also having a great season for Manchester City and gets the nod over Willian and Pedro. The Englishman is already on double figures in goals (10) and trail Hazard by an assist (9). Sterling has also created 12 big chances for his team mates which highlights his creativity as well. The exciting forward will hope to cause problems for Chelsea’s defence.
Sergio Aguero is without doubt the one to complete the front three. The Argentine is joint third on the scoring charts with 14 and has amassed 6 assists. He will hope to build on the hat trick against Arsenal last week.
Pep Guardiola will look to Sergio Kun Aguero for goals today. The Cityzens struggled to find the net without him at the Stamford Bridge. Aguero will look to make it 8 strikes against the Blues in the Premier League.
Maurizio Sarri will look to Eden Hazard to once again make a difference in this tie. The 2018 World Cup Silver Ball holder assisted Kante in the reverse fixture at the Stamford Bridge and will look to add more to that today.
It will be an exciting one for neutrals around the world. Manchester City do have the slight edge in this one with most of their personnel fit. Sarri defied all odds by beating City at the Stamford Bridge in December.
He will stand a chance if he pulls up a tactical surprise like last time. I will go for a 2-0 score line in favour of City due to the firepower Pep has at his disposal.