PREVIEW: Manchester City vs Chelsea – 04/03/18
Manchester City vs Chelsea
Venue: The Etihad
Referee: Michael Oliver
TV: Sky Sports Main Event
Out of form Chelsea travel to the Etihad on Sunday, looking to avoid a fourth loss in five Premier League games.
Man City will be again be without Fernandinho and Fabian Delph, but will hand late fitness tests to Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling as they look to overcome setbacks.
If Kyle Walker fails to recover in time Danilo will move to right-back, with Oleksandr Zinchenko coming in on the left. John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are pushing for recalls, but will likely be given run-outs on Wednesday for the visit of Basel.
Chelsea will be without Tiemoue Bakayoko and David Luiz, but Ross Barkley is available for selection after a hamstring problem.
Cesc Fabregas could replace Danny Drinkwater in midfield, while Gary Cahill may be brought in to add experience to a back three which will likely face one of the sternest tests of their season so far.
Last season, Antonio Conte became the first manager to do a top-flight league double over Pep Guardiola as Chelsea stormed to the title.
This season, City are somehow running away with the Championship in an even more dominant fashion, and Guardiola could become only the second manager to do a league double over Conte.
The reversal in fortunes is further summed up by current form. Chelsea have a only a solitary league win over West Brom since the turn of February, while City have blown away Arsenal twice in the last week alone.
City’s home form is also frighteningly good, having won every league clash at the Etihad since the visit of Everton in August. Chelsea in contrast have won only two of 10 on the road.
Willian has been in inspired form of late, but Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud are failing to provide the goal threat the Blues have required away from home.
City meanwhile have scored at least two in every home league fixture since that draw with Everton, and are buoyed further by the return to fitness of Gabriel Jesus.
The Brazilian will likely feature from the bench again, but will hope to start on Wednesday as the Sky Blues look to consolidate a 4-0 first leg advantage.
Prediction: Manchester City 3 Chelsea 1
Written by Sam Hanys.