Manchester City’s two-year reign as Premier League champions will come to an end tonight if they fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Pep Guardiola’s men have made a flying restart to their league campaign, smashing eight goals without reply past Arsenal and Burnley, but they travel to face a Blues side who themselves made a winning return to action and who defeated the champions in this fixture last season.
Manchester City make the trip to London without top scorer Sergio Aguero, whose season could be over as he requires an operation on the knee injury he sustained on Monday, while Eric Garcia, John Stones and Claudio Bravo are also confirmed absentees for tonight’s clash. [via Manchester Evening News]
Guardiola made eight changes to his starting XI for the match against the Clarets, so trying to predict his line-up for tonight is a risky exercise. Nevertheless, we’ve had a go at calling the team that we reckon will be fielded for the clash at Stamford Bridge.
Ederson was one of just three Man City players who started both of their last two games and, with Bravo injured, he is sure to keep his place. There could be a much-changed defence ahead of him, though. Guardiola brought Oleksandr Zinchenko, Nicolas Otamendi and Joao Cancelo into the team for the Burnley game but could recall Benjamin Mendy, Aymeric Laporte and Kyle Walker for tonight’s clash. He may opt to keep the experience of Fernandinho in the centre of defence.
Rodri could keep his place at the base of the midfield three, while Kevin De Bruyne should come back into the team to face his former club, having only been a substitute on Monday. Bernardo Silva deserves to remain in the team after providing two assists against Burnley, so David Silva may drop to the bench after starting the last two games as Guardiola seeks to shuffle his midfield pack.
Picking the front three can seem a bit of a lottery given the abundance of options at the manager’s disposal, although Gabriel Jesus is a very likely starter to replace the injured Aguero at centre-forward. Riyad Mahrez could also remain in the team after his two goals on Monday night, but Guardiola may have a dilemma over who he selects on the left flank.
Foden made a very strong case for selection with his double against Burnley but, if he is carrying a knock, then Raheem Sterling may be given the nod to start ahead of him. Also, the Stockport native has yet to be given consecutive Premier League starts this season in what appears a case of Guardiola managing his minutes. It may seem harsh on the 20-year-old but his manager might not have much room for sentiment.
Do you think Phil Foden will start against Chelsea?
Manchester City’s starting line-ups have had some surprising selections over the past couple of games, so it may be best to expect some of the unexpected from Guardiola in his team selection this evening.
Man City fans, how many changes do you expect Guardiola to make for tonight? Let us know in the comments section below!
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