Manchester City welcome Chelsea at the weekend. Two years ago, this was the Champions League final. Now, the two clubs are at different places in their development. City have continued their trajectory and will play in the Champions League again this season. Meanwhile, the visitors are in transition under a new ownership, with a new coach in Mauricio Pochettino arriving in the summer. This weekend, the home side could clinch the league title with a win. It may have already been sealed should Arsenal lose to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
It could be a historic season for Manchester City. They remain in three competitions and are fancied to complete a treble this season. The league title looks to be a formality, while they will be heavy favourites for both the Champions League and FA Cup finals. It would be the crowning achievement of the Pep Guardiola era and write the team into English football history. The Spaniard won’t be getting ahead of himself, but it is looking an inevitability from the outside.
Chelsea will be excited for the season to finish. After a huge transfer spend across two windows, it is embarrassing that the team are languishing in the bottom half. They won’t be competing in European competition next season, which is quite some decline from being involved in the Champions League this season. Mauricio Pochettino is a smart appointment, but he has a very difficult job ahead of him to get the Blues competing in the upper echelons of the Premier League again.
Manchester City have won their last three matches against Chelsea in the Premier League by a 1-0 scoreline. They have never recorded four successive victories over the Blues in the league.
Since the beginning of the 2021/22 campaign, Chelsea have never beaten a team that has started the day above them in the league table.
It has been a record-breaking season for Erling Haaland and he will be looking to finish it strongly. There are big games to come and goals in the remaining Premier League fixtures should increase his confidence further. It has been a remarkable first season for him in England and any doubts about his suitability for Manchester City have fallen to one side. There will have been frustration that he failed to score against Real Madrid across the Champions League semi-final, but his presence created space for others to inflict the damage. The Norwegian remains the team’s biggest threat, as shown by his 52 goals across all competitions. Chelsea remain unconvincing at the back. Haaland could have a field day.
It remains to be seen whether Raheem Sterling will have a long-term future at Stamford Bridge. That decision will be made by Pochettino, but he has started to find some form in recent weeks. It would be unfair to be overly critical of any of the new signings at Chelsea. Some have been better than others, but the entire club have been in chaos. The number of signings coupled with four different managers taking charge at one point of the season make it impossible to find rhythm. It is a massive change from what Sterling became used to at Manchester City. His return of six goals and three assists means he has a total of nine goal contributions. No Chelsea player has more in the Premier League, which underlines the struggles that the club have had. Sterling will see this as an opportunity to haunt his former club and he will be the primary danger for Manchester City.
Nathan Ake is the only injury doubt for the home side. There could be some rotation in the coming weeks, but it is unlikely to be an issue for this fixture.
Kalidou Koulibaly and Mateo Kovacic are both doubts for this weekend. Benoit Badiashile has joined those on the injury list. Reece James, N’Golo Kante, Ben Chilwell, Marc Cucurella and Mason Mount are all unlikely to feature again this season.
These two teams were once competitors, but the gap between them is currently bigger than it has ever been before. Chelsea have the talent within their squad to compete with Manchester City. However, the tactical understanding and cohesiveness just isn’t there. They need the season to end. This match is almost certainly going to end in a home win and City will clinch the league title.
Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea