During this week’s Premier League midweek games, Chelsea will face Manchester City at Stamford Stadium on Thursday, January 5. This matchup may be the game of the week.
Manchester City will travel to west London for their first or second meeting with Chelsea in less than a week in an attempt to close the gap on the Premier League leaders.An important battle in the top division will take place on Thursday before their FA Cup third-round encounter at the Etihad Stadium.
City can close the gap on top-of-the-table Arsenal to 5 points with a win at Stamford Bridge. This would put pressure on Chelsea manager Graham Potter, whose team has won just one of its past seven Premier League games.
When they last played, Graham Potter’s squad and Nottingham Forest drew 1-1 for a point, while the visitors were held to a 2-2 draw by Everton. Chelsea and Manchester City will play their first of two straight games on Thursday night at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League before they meet again on Sunday in the FIFA Cup.
On New Year’s Day, Graham Potter led his squad to a miserable 0-0 draw with Nottingham Forest; several illnesses substantially impacted their poor performance both before and after the World Cup break. The struggling Blues face a significant test from the reigning champs. Arsenal had appeared to be the undisputed leader after 16 games, but City has remained competitive despite losing at home to Everton in their most recent encounter. Erling Haaland scored his 21st league goal of the year at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, aiming for a thrilling duel with Thiago Silva.
Team news, injuries, and lineup options
N’Golo Kante and Reece James are still sidelined due to injuries, although they are making progress toward recovery. The return of that team shortly will be a major advantage for Chelsea. While Edouard Mendy (shoulder) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (calf) are making progress toward returning, Armando Broja, Ben Chilwell, and Wesley Fofana are still sidelined. It will be interesting to watch whether Raheem Sterling, Pulisic, Kai Havertz, and Mason Mount are used as offensive starters by Potter.
Aymeric Laporte is questionable due to a back issue, and Ruben Dias is out with a hamstring injury for City. After his exploits at the World Cup, Julian Alvarez might start for City, while Kyle Walker could return at right back despite Rico Lewis’ outstanding recent performances.
N’Golo Kante and Armando Broja are still being treated by Chelsea’s medical team round-the-clock, and Reece James has lately joined them due to his most recent knee injury, which might keep him out for up to a month.
However, there is hope for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has resumed training after a calf injury, and Ben Chilwell, who could have to wait until the trip to Fulham the following week. Wesley Fofana is also not expected to make the team. Edouard Mendy’s shoulder issue is still unresolved in the meantime.
The rising Denis Zakaria should be replaced in the midfield by Mateo Kovacic, who might also take the position of Jorginho. Christian Pulisic can count on keeping his position on the left wing at the same time.
Aymeric Laporte (back) and Ruben Dias (hamstring) are the only players remaining in the Etihad treatment room, though the former’s issue is unlikely to keep him out for long.
Along with Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Phil Foden, and Ilkay Gundogan, Argentine World Cup hero Julian Alvarez should be one of several players up for recalls to the starting XI, with Guardiola delaying changes until the 87th minute of Saturday’s game.
Guardiola performed a surprising U-turn and lauded Kalvin Phillips’ physique when he returned to the Etihad bench only a few days after saying the England midfielder was overweight. However, his “beautiful figure,” as Guardiola described it, should not be enough to get him off to a good start.
Even if some of their fans appear to be concerned about Chelsea’s struggles under new manager Graham Potter, this was always going to be a long process.It will take time for Potter to assemble an appealing, reliable staff after nearly two decades of the hire-and-fire philosophy.
The owners of Chelsea and everyone else associated with the west London team must be patient and give Potter time. But does anyone in football have time? They appear good defensively, but their forward motion is seriously lacking in inspiration and originality. As Todd Boehly and company continue to exercise their financial muscles, they are still connected to expensive additions, but if this current slump continues, Chelsea may soon be out of the top four race.
Everton held Manchester City to a draw at home, a result that only occurs to them once or twice a year. They controlled play and scored early, but for some reason they were unable to add a second. Then, with their lone shot on goal, Everton broke through and scored a stunning goal. That’s how football can be at times.
Due to the large number of players who participated in the World Cup, Pep Guardiola is aware that his team will need some time to get back up to speed. The trip to Chelsea will be a great opportunity for them to do so and demonstrate that they are more than capable of catching the league-leading Arsenal. Guardiola is looking for a response.