Chelsea v Manchester City: Premier League – live | Premier League

Graham Potter makes two changes to the Chelsea side that drew at Nottingham Forest on Sunday. The more mobile Mateo Kovacic replaces Jorginho in midfield, and Hakim Ziyech is in for Mason Mount, who suffered a knock in training. Not sure what that means tactically; we’ll find out at 8pm.

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Pep Guardiola picks a more grown-up City side, with Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden replacing Rico Lewis, Manuel Akanji, Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish.

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Chelsea (possible 4-2-2-2) Kepa; Azpilicueta, Koulibaly, Thiago Silva, Cucurella; Zakaria, Kovacic; Ziyech, Pulisic; Havertz, Sterling.
Substitutes: Bettinelli, Jorginho, Aubameyang, Chalobah, Gallagher, Chukwuemeka, Humphreys, Hutchinson, Hall.

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Manchester City (4-1-2-3) Ederson; Walker, Stones, Ake, Cancelo; Rodri; De Bruyne, Gundogan; Bernardo, Haaland, Foden.
Substitutes: Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Grealish, Alvarez, Gomez, Akanji, Mahrez, Palmer, Lewis.

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Referee Paul Tierney.

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We know it’s coming, or at least we think we do. All four of Pep Guardiola’s title-winning seasons at Manchester City have included terrifying winning runs to either burn off or reel in their rivals: They won 18 consecutive Premier League games in 2017-18, 14 in 2018-19 – when they had no margin for a draw, never mind a defeat – 15 in 2020-21 and 12 last season. The streaks in 2017-18 and 2020-21 included statement victories at Stamford Bridge, and they’d love another tonight.

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Everyone expects City to go on another run, and this would be a good time to start. They are eight points behind Arsenal, with tonight’s match in hand, and five of their next seven games are against Big Seven teams. A couple of months ago it was unthinkable that anyone other than City would win the league; now it is merely unlikely.

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The reason I said the Big Seven rather than the top seven is that Chelsea start tonight’s game in tenth. The last thing they need, given the hysterical criticism they have received either side of the World Cup, is a game against City. They have two: tonight and then a trip to the Etihad in the FA Cup on Sunday. But like City, Chelsea know a win tonight could be a line in the sand.

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Kick off 8pm.

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Key events

“When the season began a City triumph seemed inevitable,” says Mary Waltz. “I continued to believe that until my relegation bound Everton drew with them at Etihad. It’s not that they don’t have the best talent and manager in the PL. They do. It’s just hard to maintain that continued excellence over long periods.”

Indeed. There’s a reason only five teams have been English champions for three consecutive seasons: Huddersfield Town (1923-26), Arsenal (1932-35), Liverpool (1981-84) and Manchester United (1998-2001 and 2006-09). I do think City will join the list though.

“Why hasn’t Pep picked his best front six (ie, the one starting this evening) more often?” wonder Andrew Hurley. “Foden behind Grealish is, well…”

Well, Guardiola is a disciple of rotation, rightly I think. I would generally play Foden ahead of Grealish in the bigger games because of his goal threat than him, but I think I see him through different eyes to the rest of the world. Brilliant player, he could be a great, but I don’t recognize the generational talent (sic) most people talk about, particularly with England. I thought he was very disappointing against France. Guardiola has made a few comments about body language this week, which many have interpreted as being about Foden.

And I know he has his faults, especially from 12 yards, but don’t forget Riyad Mahrez was City’s top scorer with 24 last season. The flexibility of Bernardo and Foden in particular gives Guardiola so many options.

“Unless Chelsea win tonight they’ll remain third in the West London Championship behind Fulham and Brentford, albeit with a game in hand,” says Richard Hirst. “Who could have foreseen that, almost halfway through the season?”

Transfer latest

If there’s one thing Chelsea are still world class at, it’s irritating opposing teams whose players they want to buy. But it seems they are in the process of bringing in some pr-etty, pr-etty good footballers.

And here’s Pep

[On the changes tonight] I picked the team the fans told me to play. Some of the players came back from the World Cup with niggles, and Rico and the other guys have been fantastic.

[With Arsenal eight points in front, do you enjoy the thrill of the chase?] Well, we’d prefer to be eight points in front! A lot of games still to play, so we are trying to maintain our level and have a run of victories.

[On Beast] Many times in the previous season we played with a false nine so we had an extra player in the middle; now the extra player is in the box, so we have to adjust something. But, yeah, we are delighted: with his consistency, with his goals, with everything.

[On reintegrating players after the World Cup] I took a look, individually – first day, second day, third day, how they were training. It depends on the body language. In the period after the World Cup it was important to take a look: how is the body language, the mood, and try to pick the best line-up. Step by step the guys come back to reality and ready to play each game.

[On Grealish v Foden] There isn’t always a specific reason for picking players. Sometimes I want to rotate, sometimes it’s tactical, sometimes it’s because of the quality of the opposition. I’ve never been somebody who picks the same eleven every week, because it makes the locker room impossible.

[On Graham Potter] All managers need time; I finished third in my first season at City. He is a top, top-class manager.

Graham Potter is chatting on Sky Sports

[Sum up your first four months at Chelsea] It’s been intense, challenging, enjoyable. We’ve had a transition period, and that has an effect: lots of games, lots of injuries. That’s my summary.

We haven’t been happy with how we played, certainly in the Premier League. We need to attack more and create chances. You can make excuses, because there are reasons, but ultimately we have to take responsibility and say, ‘We can do better.’ We need stability and we’re working towards that.

We haven’t functioned as well as a team as we’d have liked. We’re four months in and we lost the place for six weeks of those four months, but we acknowledge we have to build our attacks better and create more chances. That’s the honest answer.

Premier League goals this season

Chelsea 20-21 Erling Haaland.

News team

Graham Potter makes two changes to the Chelsea side that drew at Nottingham Forest on Sunday. The more mobile Mateo Kovacic replaces Jorginho in midfield, and Hakim Ziyech is in for Mason Mount, who suffered a knock in training. Not sure what that means tactically; we’ll find out at 8pm.

Pep Guardiola picks a more grown-up City side, with Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden replacing Rico Lewis, Manuel Akanji, Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish.

Chelsea (possible 4-2-2-2) Kepa; Azpilicueta, Koulibaly, Thiago Silva, Cucurella; Zakaria, Kovacic; Ziyech, Pulisic; Havertz, Sterling.
Substitutes: Bettinelli, Jorginho, Aubameyang, Chalobah, Gallagher, Chukwuemeka, Humphreys, Hutchinson, Hall.

Manchester City (4-1-2-3) Ederson; Walker, Stones, Ake, Cancelo; Rodri; De Bruyne, Gundogan; Bernardo, Haaland, Foden.
Substitutes: Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Grealish, Alvarez, Gomez, Akanji, Mahrez, Palmer, Lewis.

Referee Paul Tierney.

Preamble

We know it’s coming, or at least we think we do. All four of Pep Guardiola’s title-winning seasons at Manchester City have included terrifying winning runs to either burn off or reel in their rivals: They won 18 consecutive Premier League games in 2017-18, 14 in 2018-19 – when they had no margin for a draw, never mind a defeat – 15 in 2020 -21 and 12 last season. The streaks in 2017-18 and 2020-21 included statement victories at Stamford Bridge, and they’d love another tonight.

Everyone expects City to go on another run, and this would be a good time to start. They are eight points behind Arsenal, with tonight’s match in hand, and five of their next seven games are against Big Seven teams. A couple of months ago it was unthinkable that anyone other than City would win the league; now it is merely unlikely.

The reason I said the Big Seven rather than the top seven is that Chelsea start tonight’s game in tenth. The last thing they need, given the hysterical criticism they have received either side of the World Cup, is a game against City. They have two: tonight and then a trip to the Etihad in the FA Cup on Sunday. But like City, Chelsea know a win tonight could be a line in the sand.

Kick off 8pm.

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