Manchester City’s attempt at winning a third Premier League trophy in a row has already hit a major stumbling block.
Long-term injuries to Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte haven’t helped matters but Pep Guardiola’s men have faltered on the pitch.
Defeats to Wolves, Norwich and Liverpool have relegated the champions to fourth, some nine points off the leaders after just 12 games.
Their 3-1 loss away at Anfield hardly felt surprising, with a centre-back partnership of Fernandinho and John Stones weakened further by the absence of Ederson to injury.
Guardiola’s side need a big response against Chelsea, who currently sit above them in the Premier League table.
He still has problems, with Sane, Laporte and Oleksandr Zinchenko all out of the game with injuries.
Bernardo Silva will also miss the game at the Etihad Stadium after he was suspended over a tweet involving teammate Benjamin Mendy.
So how will the champions line-up against Frank Lampard’s side?
Ederson should be fit to return in goal after returning to training. A fresh Kyle Walker wasn’t called up by England so should get the nod ahead of Joao Cancelo at right-back, while Benjamin Mendy may come in at left-back after Angelino started at Anfield.
Guardiola has drifted away from starting Stones and Nicolas Otamendi together after the defeat at Norwich so Fernandinho looks set to continue at the heart of the defence alongside the England international. Rodri returned to the side against Liverpool and should take up his role anchoring the midfield.
Kevin De Bruyne could be partnered by Ilkay Gundogan rather than David Silva as City look for a midfielder with a higher defensive output to combat a creative Chelsea midfield. As per WhoScored, Gundogan is currently averaging more interceptions per game than his Spanish teammate.
In front of them, Sergio Aguero has good memories against the Blues, scoring a hat-trick in this fixture last season. Elsewhere, Raheem Sterling has been in fantastic form for City this season. The 24-year-old has 14 goals in 17 games, with Riyad Mahrez the leading candidate to replace Bernardo Silva on the other wing given he’s the winger to have dribbled the most times per outside of Sterling and the Portuguese this season.
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