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Guardiola: ‘Exceptional’ Chelsea a really, really ‘big bull’

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Sunday’s match will feel like “a real final” according to the league leaders

Manchester City v Chelsea - FA Community Shield Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City are back on top of the Premier League, albeit having played one extra match than everybody else — this match was supposed to be played the weekend of the Carabao Cup final (Feb 24); Chelsea’s match from that weekend presumably would’ve been brought forward as well, but Brighton were involved in an FA Cup 4th round replay instead yesterday, so that was not possible (it’s unclear when it will be actually played).

Either way, the pressure is now truly on Liverpool to not let it slip, especially with big games looming both in the league (Manchester United away in a couple weeks) and in Europe (Bayern Munich coming up in the Champions League Round of 16 next week).

But of course the job is far from done for City as well. Their schedule is looking a little easier, but they are still involved in all four competitions and that could stretch even their squad a little thin. Pep Guardiola certainly sees this Sunday’s home match against Chelsea as a major hurdle in their way.

“We started well with Arsenal and Everton but now comes a really, really big test — a big bull. Chelsea is an exceptional team with seven days to prepare that game. We will try. We have to prepare well.

”This is a real final for us this weekend. If we are able to take these points, we are going to take a huge step forward.”

-Pep Guardiola; source: ESPN

That may be giving a bit too much credit to us, but we did beat them 2-0 back in December at the Bridge and they’ve won just 7 of 11 including that match, a 73-point pace, which is far from title-winning form.

Titles can be lost in the first-half of the season, but they are won in the second-half of the season. Chelsea may be well out of it, but we just might still have a say in it.