Chelsea vs Manchester City – Stamford Bridge – 30 September, 2017 – 17:30 hrs – EPL Preview
The Chelsea-Manchester City Premier League clash slated for September 30th at Stamford Bridge can be considered to a battle between the two strongest sides in the ongoing tournament.
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City's quest for goals went unabated as they pumped in as many as five against minions Crystal Palace last weekend.
The Citizens have heaped in as many as 21 goals so far in the 2017-18 season with usual suspects Sergio Aguero (6), Raheem Sterling (5), Gabriel Jesus (4) and Leroy Sane (3) sharing in the spoils.
City are a clear 4 points ahead of 2nd placed Manchester United, but that gap could narrow with the Red Devils drooling at the prospect of devouring a hapless Palace at the Old Trafford on Saturday.
For the moment, Guardiola has been taking it easy with some of his key players. Jesus was rested for the Palace match and so was £45 million-import from Monaco, Bernardo Silva who was introduced for the last half-hour of the same match. Whether Silva would find a place in the starting XI at Stamford Bridge later this weekend could be a matter of conjecture considering the kind of fire-power City already has at its disposal. The likes of David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne may not be into goals but their brilliant play-making has been the key to the side's rich haul this season. Against Chelsea, these will be the two key men to watch out for.
The men at the back-line – Kyle Walker, John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi and Benjamin Mendy on whom City have spent close to £150 million have not been tested to their limits, but faced with a Chelsea attack in full-strength, things could look a lot more different in the defense.
Antonio Conte's £70 million acquisition from Real Madrid, Alvaro Morata, is in tremendous form and already notched up as many Premier league goals as City's Sergio Aguero. Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard, rested for the Stoke City clash last weekend, look all set to start at the Bridge on Saturday, giving the Blues attack the killer edge. Even without players of the caliber of Hazard, Fabregas and Cahill, Chelsea was able to mete out a 0-4 thrashing to Stoke City at their own backyard, the Bet365 stadium.
While Manchester City had a relatively easier mid-week European outing in their 2nd UEFA Champions group clash against Ukrainian side, Shakhtar Donetsk, at the Etihad, Chelsea made a trip to Spain to take on a very difficult Atletico Madrid and won 2-1.
The battle-hardened Blues will be expected to be the more tested side when they meet City at Stamford Bridge. There's the fear that Pep Guardiola's men may lapse into complacency post their recent thumping Premier league wins and a potentially less-taxing mid-week outing against Donetsk.
Head to Head
The Blues have a good history against City, emerging winners from three of the last four clashes. But bookmakers seemed to have ignored the Blues' home-advantage and have gone in with the visitors' recent form and inherent fire-power in wagering for a Manchester City win.
A draw seems to be a fair result to a this potentially fascinating weekend EPL encounter.
Coach Antonio Conte’s Chelsea will be desperately looking to earn 3 points from September 30th’s game and hold on to the 3rd spot on the table they currently are in.