Forget Willian: This £45m-rated lynchpin is key to Chelsea’s victory over Man City today

The Chelsea fans are feeling apprehensive in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their second trip to Manchester in the space of a week. 

Antonio Conte takes his side to Manchester once again this weekend for a fixture against an imperious Manchester City side who continue to show no sign of letting up in their bid to win the Premier League this season. The champions-elect were in lethal form once again on Thursday evening as they tore Arsenal apart and scored 3 fine goals to record their second 3-0 victory over The Gunners in the space of just 5 days. Chelsea will need to be at their absolute best to stand any chance of taking a point or three away from The Etihad today, and one player in particular will need to deliver a match-winning performance.

Willian has stolen the headlines for The Blues in recent weeks and deservedly earned high-praise throughout the British media. The Brazilian winger has played an instrumental in Chelsea’s attacking play and provided a creative spark which only Eden Hazard seems to be capable of emulating.

If Willian delivers another big-game performance today then Chelsea will have an excellent chance of taking something away from The Etihad, but the performance of Thibaut Courtois (valued at £45 million by Transfermarkt) could single-handedly decide the final outcome in Manchester.

So far this season, Manchester City have scored a staggering 82 goals in the Premier League, including 50 at The Etihad Stadium. With that to consider, there is absolutely no doubt that Courtois will face one of, if not his greatest challenge of the season this afternoon.

The Belgian international will be called into action on a regular basis against some of the leagues most devastating finishers, but if he can maintain his clean sheet beyond the 60th minute then Chelsea will have a great chance of snatching a winner on the break.

Guardiola’s philosophy is that you play to win, so City will inevitably start to push more bodies forward in search of a winner as the clock ticks towards full-time. If Courtois can keep his side in the game with a commanding performance between the sticks, then chances will eventually arrive for Chelsea at the right end of the pitch, so his performance will certainly play a crucial role in determining the result this afternoon.


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