Chelsea and Man City headline this weekends fixtures
Chelsea and Manchester City do battle at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon, as the Premier League hopefuls look to gain an edge over the other, with the season still in its infancy.
Chelsea were surprisingly written off after their opening day defeat to Burnley, especially in light of their underwhelming performance in the summer transfer market. Antonio Conte’s men, however, have managed to turn things around, winning seven out of their last eight games, including wins against Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur. Their recent statement victory over Atletico Madrid in Spain has only cemented their credence, and they’ll be raring to go up against a rampant City side this weekend. Chelsea’s home form in the league, however, isn’t on their side, as they have won only against punching bags Everton this season, drawing with a resilient Arsenal and losing to a more resilient Burnley.
The Chelsea manager will hope to see his players keep up their fine form, but he’ll have to manage without the services of summer signing Daniel Drinkwater, who won’t be returning to training at least until mid-October. Attacker Eden Hazard, who boasts a stellar goal-scoring record against Saturday’s visitors, will likely earn his first league start, given his recent form, though. Pedro’s chances of returning to the starting line-up seem high, with Alvaro Morata looking as if he was limping in Madrid. David Luiz, though, remains unavailable, with his serving the second of his three-match ban.
Pep Guardiola has also managed to turn things around this season after being subjected to mockery in his first season at Etihad Stadium. With the right players coming in and his philosophy finally resonating with his personnel, his club has been making strides in England again, scoring 21 goals in seven games, with a ridiculous goal difference of +19. A draw with Everton in late August, however, means they haven’t been able to convert their attacking prowess to tyrannical control over the rest of the teams as they sit atop the table level only on goal difference. With second-placed Manchester United locking horns with a Crystal Palace side who have lost every game this season, the Citizens can’t afford to lose points in London.
They’ll have to make do without Sergio Aguero, though, with the Argentine superstar sustaining a rib injury following a car accident in Holland on Thursday. Summer arrival Benjamin Bendy, who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in the 5-0 rout of Crystal Palace, is also unavailable; he’s touted to remain unavailable for a considerable amount of time. Additionally, Vincent Kompany is a major doubt.
With the league’s best and third best attacking unit battling it out for three points, one may expect a goal fest but, Aguero’s absence, City’s shipping only two goals – the least in the division – and Chelsea’s conceding just five mean the match ending in a goalless draw also seems a likely scenario. One may be forgiven for