With the Blues having secured only one victory in their last five league outings, Graham Potter’s side will be keen on an upturn in results whilst the visitors will be looking to find momentum having secured only four points from their last three league fixtures.
Currently sitting 10th in the league table, Chelsea remain amongst the underperforming sides in the ongoing league campaign. With the team having dropped points consistently throughout the campaign alongside being unable to build on their positive results, the Londoners will be keen on performing to the best of their abilities against City as they hope to mount a challenge for a top-four spot until the end of the campaign.
On the other hand, sitting eight points behind table-toppers Arsenal, Pep Guardiola’s defending champions will be keen on returning to their best form over the coming fixtures. Although enduring a brief slump in recent performances, City will look to capitalise on the home side’s inconsistency in a bid to build momentum in their title charge moving into a demanding period of fixtures.
When & Where?
Venue: Stamford Bridge.
Date: Thursday, 4th January, 2023.
Time: 20:00 GMT.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Assistant Referees: Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies.
Fourth Official: Robert Jones.
VAR Official: Michael Salisbury.
Armando Broja, Reece James, N’Golo Kante, and Wesley Fofana continue to recover from their injuries with either not expected to make the match-day squad against City. Ben Chilwell and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are soon expected to return to the match-day squad, with both players having returned to training. Kepa Arrizabalaga is expected to retain his place between the sticks while Edouard Mendy continues to recover from a shoulder injury.
Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias emerge as the only available players due to injuries although the former is unlikely to remain on the sidelines for an extended period. Guardiola is likely to make several changes to the starting line-up, with all of Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Phil Foden, and Ilkay Gundogan expected to return following a brief spell on the bench. World-Cup winner Julian Alvarez will be keen on pushing for a starting spot, although Kalvin Phillips is unlikely to make the starting line-up despite being praised for his physicality by the manager after making the bench against Everton.
With both teams in need of three points, Thursday’s match-up at Stamford Bridge is expected to provide a compelling battle on the pitch. Likely to attempt imposing themselves on the opposition from the first minute, Chelsea will be keen on seeking an early breakthrough whilst the visitors will be looking to achieve the same in a bid to retain control of the game for most of the ninety minutes.
Expected to employ a balanced approach, Potter’s side will be looking to make the best of their goal-scoring opportunities on Thursday. Having struggled to find the back of the net throughout the league campaign, the Blues will be keen on improving in the goal-scoring department moving forward. Expected to seek advantage of counter-attacking opportunities alongside aiming to retain possession in the central areas of the final third, the hosts will be keen on applying pressure from the first whistle at Stamford Bridge.
On the other hand, expected to retain the bulk of possession, City will be looking to create a handful of goal-scoring opportunities from the onset against Chelsea. With the blues having struggled to keep clean sheets alongside having proven to be vulnerable against possessional-based opposition, the visitors will be looking to exploit attacking spaces across the flanks and central areas in a bid to outsmart the home side on Thursday. With a number of key players likely to return to the starting line-up, Guardiola’s side will be confident in securing three points at Stamford Bridge.
Mateo Kovacic – Chelsea
Expected to return to the starting line-up, Chelsea’s prospects of picking up a result City will be heavily dependent on the Croatian international’s contribution on Thursday. With the ability to disrupt defences through his ball-progression attributes alongside being competent in retaining and recycling possession across the midfield, Kovacic will be keen on delivering a notable performance as the Blues look to find rhythm in their displays over the coming weeks.
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
With City needing to create and convert their goal-scoring opportunities against Chelsea, De Bruyne will be keen on having a positive impact on the pitch. Having been amongst the team’s most notable performers following the World Cup, the Belgian playmaker will look to exploit the opposition’s defensive vulnerabilities through intricate passages of play alongside making the best use of his positioning outside of possession in regaining the same higher up the pitch at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea predicted lineup vs Manchester City: Kepa Arrizabalaga; Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella; Mateo Kovacic, Denis Zakaria; Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz.
Manchester City predicted lineup vs Chelsea: Ederson; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Manuel Akanji, Joao Cancelo; Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne; Bernardo Silva, Erling Haaland, Phil Foden.