Chelsea are unbeaten in eight games but Saturday they face Manchester City, one of the most in-form teams in Europe who are aiming to make an early impact in the Premier League title race.
Man City have been scoring at will and they currently top the Premier League on goal difference, with Chelsea just three points behind in third place.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has complained that Man City are getting an extra day’s rest ahead of the match, having played in Manchester on Tuesday while Chelsea played in Madrid on Wednesday. Chelsea will still be aiming to win but the upcoming match at Stamford Bridge will be the last in a difficult run of games for the club.
Conte has almost a complete bill of health, but Danny Drinkwater remains out of contention and he has yet to make his debut for Chelsea. He was on the bench against Leicester City in early September but he has a calf injury which he may recover from after the international break.
Pedro has a “minor injury” according to Conte, but that didn’t stop him making the bench against Atletico Madrid. He picked up a knock against Arsenal but should be available for selection against Man City.
Eden Hazard has completed his return to the first team in triumphant fashion as he was one of the star performers in Madrid. Chelsea have been cautious about reintroducing him into the first team after he broke his ankle on international duty in May.
Baba Rahman remains at Chelsea but isn’t part of the club’s Premier League or European squad due to a knee injury. He is expecting to return in late October or early November.
David Luiz is still banned after his red card against Arsenal. He will return for Chelsea after the international break. However, the centre-back was available to play in the Champions League versus Atletico as his suspension only counts for domestic competitions.
He also suffered a fractured wrist during the match against Arsenal but has continued full training and can play through the injury for his side’s upcoming matches.
POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Andreas Christensen will continue to deputise for David Luiz in the centre of a three-man defence. The young defender has impressed Conte with his start to life at Stamford Bridge and he looks assured enough on the ball to take over in the middle of the back line.
Conte faces selection dilemmas in most positions on the pitch as he sees his side play three games in eight days. Chelsea have remarkable depth and rotated the likes of Pedro, Willian and Antonio Rudiger, who could come back in the side to face Man City.
Chelsea’s 3-4-3 remains the club’s primary formation after Conte won the title with the system last season. They have also lined up in the 3-5-2 formation on a few occasions this term, most notably in Madrid and away to Tottenham.
MANCHESTER CITY TEAM NEWS
Benjamin Mendy’s knee injury has been described as a “major setback” by Pep Guardiola, and the left-back set for a lengthy spell out for City. Ilkay Gundogan came through his injury scare from last week to return for Man City against Shakhtar Donetsk in mid-week.
Vincent Kompany is expected to be out with a calf injury until after the international break, but City have a clean bill of health beyond that.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Manchester City lost both Premier League matches against Chelsea last season, with the Blues the only
side to achieve this feat over Pep Guardiola’s side.
Pep Guardiola has only lost three consecutive matches against an opponent once before in his managerial career — he lost three in a row against Real Madrid between April 2012 and April 2014 (one in La Liga, two in the Champions League).
Guardiola has faced Chelsea seven times as a manager and failed to win any (D4 L3), more than against any other side — though one of those draws was in the 2013 Super Cup final, with his Bayern Munich side beating Chelsea 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
Manchester City have the highest xG (Expected Goals) total in the Premier League this season: 15.1 — suggesting that the quality of chances they’ve been presented would see the average side score 15 goals in these matches. Chelsea, on the other hand, have an xG total of just 6.3 — the 11th best tally.
Eden Hazard has had a hand in five goals in his last five Premier League apps against the Citizens (three goals, two assists).
TV CHANNEL & KICK OFF TIME
The match is being televised live in the UK and it will be shown on BT Sport. The kick off is at 17:30 BST on Saturday. In the US, the match can be seen at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
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