Sarri and Guardiola spent the week bigging each other and each other’s football up, but eventually all the talking will be done and the actual game will begin. It will be the third time this season, including the Community Shield, with either team winning 2-0 so far. So it’s a bit of a showdown, as well as another progress check.
Chelsea were played off the pitch in August, but held their own in early December. Neither team has been as consistent as they probably would’ve wanted to be since then, but City are still the preeminent power in England, if not Europe, and will once again provide the litmus test for Chelsea’s similar aims that are several years behind.
Few expect the Blues to win, but another embarrassing collapse like against Arsenal or Spurs must be avoided. Chelsea may drop out of the top four regardless, but the manner of the expected defeat is likely to be a telling indicator for how the dozen remaining Premier League games will go for us this season.
Date / Time: Sunday, February 10, 16:00 GMT; 11am EST; 9:30pm IST
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Referee: Mike Dean — third Chelsea match this season for the highly experienced and familiar Mike Dean; we’ve drawn the other two (2-2 versus Manchester United, 0-0 againt West Ham)
Forecast: Light rain, fairly mild
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India)
Manchester City team news: Perpetually injured Vincent Kompany and perpetually injured Benjamin Mendy are perpetually injured, again. Otherwise, City have a full and fit squad, including Kevin De Bruyne, who had missed most of the season thus far. The former Chelsea loanee has started just 4 Premier League games up to this point, though it’s not like City have been doing terribly without him.
With Liverpool slipping up lately, City enter the weekend top of the table, albeit with one extra match played. The title race is back in full effect.
Chelsea team news: Rüdiger missed last weekend’s 5-0 win with a minor knock, as did Emerson, but both should be good to go. Hudson-Odoi has been ill during the week, which might rule him out from even a bench appearance.
Chelsea have now gone almost 3.5 games (300+ minutes) without scoring an away goal — Kanté’s winner at Crystal Palace at the end of December was the last one, with the Blues losing 1-0, 2-0, and 4-0 since in away games in all competitions. So maybe we can start there, scoring a goal.
Previously: Chelsea have had a couple good results at the Etihad in the last few years, including that amazing 3-1 win under Conte in December 2016.