Chelsea will welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge on Sunday. It is a fixture that both sides will be looking to win. There has been pressure building on the hosts due to their recent poor form. Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola will see this as an opportunity to move close to Liverpool, who have been faltering lately. The recent COVID-19 outbreak at Manchester City add a level of intrigue to the contest, as it could increase the chances of a home win.
The Blues have had a disappointing few weeks, with have seen fresh criticism directed at Frank Lampard. There remain some that doubt Lampard’s capabilities as a top level coach. The start to the season was positive, but they have taken only four points from their previous five matches. A victory would lift them into the top four, which will add a positive shine to their season to date. It won’t be easy to beat Manchester City, but given the outbreak in the opposition’s squad, they may never get a better chance.
Manchester City have matches in hand, but their position in the table is a worry. Guardiola will be expecting his team to challenge for the league title. If they win their two matches in hand, they will be just one point behind Manchester United and Liverpool at the top of the division. However, that is a big if, as the visitors are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak and the matches are piling up.
In their last 14 home matches in the Premier League, Chelsea have lost only once. That came against Liverpool earlier this season.
Manchester City have lost 26 matches against Chelsea in the Premier League team. No team has defeated them more in the competition.
Timo Werner has failed to score in his last 11 matches across all competitions, which will be a growing concern for Chelsea and Lampard. It is clear to see that he is lacking in confidence in the final third, with the German wasting some big chances. He is too good to continue to struggle and this match could be a good opportunity to rebuild his confidence. Manchester City will likely dominate possession, with Chelsea looking to play on the counter attack. There are few better than Werner in transition on the counter attack, due to his pace and directness. Lampard will know his value in matches such as this one. His four goals and four assists in the Premier League isn’t a great return, but it does show that he can score and create. His dual threat will make him a danger this weekend, especially if City are missing key defenders.
The Belgian international always has a point to prove in this fixture, due to his failure to break into the Chelsea first team. This may be one of the biggest mistakes of Jose Mourinho’s career and one of the reasons why the Portuguese coach is not thought of as fondly by Chelsea supporters. Despite his slow start to the season, De Bruyne remains one of the best players in the division. He is the key to Manchester City’s title hopes, as a lot of what is good about the team centres on the Belgian. This season, he has two goals and seven assists. It is his creativity that makes him most dangerous. He has the quality to break down an improving Chelsea defence and have a match-winning contribution on Sunday. If he turns out to be one of the players affected by COVID-19, it will tip the scales further in Chelsea’s favour.
Hakim Ziyech could make his return to action, which will add much needed creativity to the Chelsea team. Reece James has been confirmed as out for this fixture.
Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson and two other unnamed players will be missing after testing positive for COVID-19. This could lead to a makeshift look to the Manchester City team.
This is going to be one of the fixtures of the weekend, with both teams wanting to take three points. Manchester City will need to be resilient following the disruption they have encountered this week. They will be missing some key players, with Walker and Ederson two players that have been confirmed as self-isolating. They still have the talent and organisation to take three points on Sunday. That said, Chelsea have a point to prove and they will know this is a huge opportunity. Goals at both ends are likely, but a score draw could be the most likely result.
Chelsea 2-2 Manchester City