Chelsea have an enormous battle in hand to improve their form as champions Manchester City visits them at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues drew 1-1 against relegation candidate Nottingham Forest last weekend while Pep Guardiola’s men also dropped points against struggling side Everton.
CHE vs MCI Match Details
Date: 5 January 2023 / 6 January 2023
Time: 21:00 (BST) / 01:30 (IST)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
CHE vs MCI Match Preview
All the positive flow from the 2-0 win over Bournemouth after the World Cup break got dashed on new year’s day for Chelsea as they drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest at City Ground. Raheem Sterling got the opener from a lucky deflection off the crossbar from Wily Boly falling to him which was the winger’s first goal since August in the league. However, that was that with Chelsea only managed one more shot on target from seven in total allowing the home side to give them enormous problems in counter-attacks. Kepa Arrizabalaga made four crucial saves in this period but could not keep out Serge Aurier’s equalizer at the near post from a corner in the 63rd minute. Morgan Gibbs-White slammed his effort onto the crossbar otherwise the Blues would have suffered another unwanted away loss. Graham Potter’s men are now a huge 10 points adrift of the top four places, placed 10th on the chart with only one win in the last eight Premier League games. Clearly, the first full season under the new owners has not gone according to plan and the team has deteriorated more under Potter since he replaced Thomas Tuchel. Whether the purchase of future stars could change things around for Chelsea is an ask for the future as pressure builds on the present. For now, they have to face a more ferocious opposition in Manchester City who are aiming to close down the gap with leaders Arsenal. The Blues have only lost to the Gunners at Stamford Bridge this season so are clinging to their home form for optimism in this clash.
Having said that, Manchester City emerged victorious in each of the last two visits to this stadium in London and have not lost the opening game of a calendar year since 2012. Though, they dropped points for the third time this season against now 18th-placed Everton at Etihad Stadium to close down 2022. Erling Haaland’s 21st strike already in the Premier League set to be guiding the Cityzens to back-to-back wins after the World Cup break but Everton’s resilient defense and Demarai Gray’s new year’s eve cracker stopped them from having so. It opened up a seven points gap from the top spot, a place which has become synonymous with them in the last seasons. City have struggled recently with five dropped points in their last three games but their away form has been decent if not better with the only loss coming against Liverpool at Anfield back in October last year. Pep Guardiola’s men have to be careful anyway as third-placed Newcastle United and Manchester United, both level on points, are ready to pounce on any further slip-offs with just a point separating them. City also have a tougher schedule with 19th-placed Wolves the only fixture on paper guaranteeing three points in the next four league games. After facing Chelsea twice, the other one in FA Cup this Sunday, the second Manchester derby of the derby will unfold at Old Trafford before the two league meetings with Tottenham on either side of that Wolves game. Man City dumped Chelsea out of the EFL Cup too just before the World Cup so will be hoping for a reversal of that record to close down the gap with Arsenal to five points.
Recent Form (league)
CHE vs MCI Team News
Chelsea will be without goalkeeper Edouard Mendy again after his injury from the World Cup with Kepa Arrizabalaga deputizing as number one irrespective of his status. There is no change in the injury list for the Blues as Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Loftus-Cheek, Ben Chilwell and Armando Broja continue to nurse their respective injuries. The decision is pending from the club whether to send new talent signing David Datro Fofana in the winter transfer window from Molde on loan or include the 20-year-old in the first-team straight away.
For City, the center-back duo of Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias are unavailable for this clash with the former struggling with a back injury. The Portuguese have not featured since the World Cup with a hamstring issue and both will be replaced by John Stones and Manuel Akanji at the back. Both full-backs, Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo should return to the starting eleven as are Ilkay Gundogan in midfield and Phil Foden in the attack. World Cup winner Julian Alvarez returned as a substitute in the last game against Everton and will play the role again here. Kalvin Philipps is out of action after returning from the World Cup without a perfect physique.
CHE vs MCI Predicted Lineups
CHL: Kepa Arrizabalaga; Nathaniel Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly; Cesar Azpilicueta, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Marc Cucurella; Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic; Kai Havertz
MCI: Ederson; Walker, John Stones, Manuel Akanji, Joao Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan; Bernardo Silva, Erling Haaland, Phil Foden
CHE vs MCI Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: Ederson (7.5)
DEF: Cancelo (8), Koulibaly (8), Akanji (8.5), Cucurella (6.5)
MID: De Bruyne (9), Kovacic (8), Silva (8), Mount (8)
FW: Mahrez (7), Haaland (9)
Vice-captain: Kevin de Bruyne
Captain: Erling Haaland
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