Last season, Thomas Tuchel got three wins over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side: one in the semifinals of the FA Cup, one in the league, and one in the final of the champions league. Surely Pep would have re-watched the encounters over and over again especially the champions league final to figure out, even to the most minute detail, where Tuchel outsmarted him. One would wonder if Pep has gotten an answer to the Tuchel riddle?
WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING
Since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel in Chelsea, Manchester City has been their most frequent opponent. Saturday’s fixture will be the fourth encounter between the two sides. Chelsea in the last three encounters between the two always come out with a slim win, sometimes a lucky win. Interestingly, Manchester City and Chelsea are two of the favorites to win the premiership this year. The game would be a statement of intent from either side.
Chelsea does not have a lot of injury worries. The only player that is ruled out of the encounter is Christian Pulisic. Eduoard Mendy is back fit after missing two games due to a rib injury in the champions league clash with Zenith. He would most likely be in between the sticks for Chelsea. If Tuchel decides to be cautionary, Kepa would not be an absolutely bad option with decent performances from him against Tottenham and Aston Villa. A win from Chelsea would give them a 6 points difference between them and last season’s winner.
Formation : 3-4-2-1
Reece James, Christensen, Rudiger
Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Marcus Alonso
Manchester City would have John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, and Rodri all back from injury ahead of this encounter. Phil Foden and Kevin DeBruyne are back from injury having featured in the mid-week clash with Wycombe, with Phil Foden putting on a stunning display. Pep Guardiola would be all out for a win to have equal points with Chelsea. However, the heavily-stocked attacking options of Manchester City could be a dilemma for Pep picking his team. Probably if he still had some of his players injured, it would have been much easier.
Cancelo, Nathan Ake, John Stones, Walker
Fernandinho Kevin DeBruyne, Foden
Bernardo Silva, Ferran Torres, Jack Grelish
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Chelsea’s summer signing can be the difference between the two sides. His hold-up play, threat in the air, and physicality can be too much for the Manchester team. Lukaku can be isolated in front and can also create chances for those around him. He could be the slim difference for Tuchel this time around.
Last season, when Chelsea was chasing the top four, Manchester City stood as a wall of Jericho in their path. A 1-1 was more than sufficient for Manchester City who was on the summit of the table but Chelsea desperately needed to win the game. Guess who scored the last-minute goal. Marcus Alonso! He has been phenomenal this season. He has been undoubtedly one of the best players for Chelsea this season. You can always count on him to produce a stellar performance.
Unable to start the season with the Citizens, Kevin DeBruyne is always a threat to any team. His passes, crosses, infect anything DeBruyne does with the ball is a danger if the opponents do not pay caution to the Belgian. I also believe DE Bruyne would warn his City teammates about the danger of not dealing with Lukaku, having supplied his national team highest goal scorer severally in international games.
The record-signing English winger will be the player to watch out for. Grealish so far has featured in five games and has a goal and an assist to his name. Although still adapting to a new team, Grealish has shown sparks in his clever movement and passes. If Manchester City is to defend their title, they absolutely need their marquee signing at his absolute best in such big games. It is going to be very exciting to watch Grealish battling with Reece James/Azpilicueta every time he has a ball at his feet.
This fixture will surely be mouth-watering, end-to-end and a sight to behold. As much as the players have to put in their best, this match is a game of tactical battle. Every single detail is very important. Rather than Chelsea Vs Manchester City, this game is more of Thomas Tuchel Vs Pep Guardiola.
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