Chelsea face a tricky Premier League challenge when they entertain leaders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge this weekend. The Blues have gone through a tough phase where they have managed just two victories from their previous five top-flight matches. This sees them already 10 points behind the table-toppers and they are currently hanging onto the final Champions League spot on only goal difference to arch-rivals Arsenal.
Pep Guardiola’s side, meanwhile, have not dropped a single league point since the goalless stalemate against Liverpool in early October and this sees them leading the standings with a two-point advantage over Jurgen Klopp’s team. The Citizens come into this encounter after having beaten Chelsea in the previous three matches across all competitions including the 2-0 Community Shield triumph in August.
Players to watch for:
Eden Hazard – Chelsea: The Belgium international started the season with a bang and he had contributed eight goals and three assists by the October international break. However, his form has since dropped off amid a couple of injury concerns and he has failed to find the net thereafter with just three assists. This has unsurprisingly coincided with the dip in the Blues’ form with Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata lacking the consistency upfront, and Hazard needs a step up this weekend in order to outclass an in-form City team. The Belgian netted a brace against the weekend opponents when the Blues previously beat them in any competition in April 2017. The 27-year-old comes into Sunday’s game with assists in back-to-back matches, although his performances have been far from perfect.
Leroy Sane – Manchester City: Sane’s career with the Premier League leaders had been placed in doubt during the initial stage of the campaign where he was dropped from the matchday squad against Wolverhampton Wanderers owing to a lack of intensity in training. However, the German has since made great strides in terms of his individual performances and of late, he has become the go-to man for the Citizens in the attack. The 22-year-old should prove a menace for the Blues’ defence from the left wing with his quick movement and dribbling skills and he should be determined to put in a performance versus Chelsea against whom he has yet to amass a goal or an assist. Sane has contributed three goals and two assists in the three league matches following the international break.
Chelsea have looked defensively vulnerable especially against the elite teams this season and we are not fancying this statistic to change against the Citizens, who should dominate the proceedings. Nonetheless, they should at least find the scoresheet with Guardiola’s side tending to provide the odd scoring opportunity with their aggressive style of play.
Chelsea 1-2 Manchester City
Image – Getty