Graham Potter has quite a few headaches with his new club Chelsea, but financial backing is not one of them. Todd Boehly, the new owner, continues to trust his new manager with the players and other investments he wishes for but as it stands, things aren’t looking as good as Potter would’ve hoped for. And at a difficult time like this, the Premier League offers them no solace and they face Manchester City in a bid to remain alive in the top four chase, which seems to be slipping away with every passing day.
Manchester City have their own concerns having dropped a point against Everton at home. Erling Haaland continues to score and score every game, taking his current Premier League tally to 21 goals, but there’s something missing in that ascendancy for the light blues. They find themselves eight points away from table-toppers Arsenal, managed by Pep Guardiola’s former understudy Mikel Arteta. The student has become the master and now, the master has a problem to solve.
While the auro of Manchester City, who are looking to become the second team in Premier League history to win a hat-trick of titles after Manchester United, can be quite threatening for most teams, they haven’t been the same force as they were in the last two seasons despite adding such great players to the squad. All the five games in which they’ve dropped points, they dropped shocking performances which on another day could’ve resulted in a defeat as well.
Travelling to Stamford Brige with no clean sheets to boast from their last four Premier League contests – and just one in their last seven – City will not be entering with the same confidence they always do. They will, however, be encouraged by their record of one away defeat from their most recent 25 in the top flight, and not since 2012 have the champions lost their opening game of the calendar year.
Man City defeated Chelsea in the EFL Cup third round with a 2-0 scoreline just before the World Cup, and both Premier League meetings between the two sides in the 2021-22 campaign ended in 1-0 victories for Guardiola’s men, who gleaned a slice of revenge after their Blues-inflicted Champions League heartbreak in Porto.
Chelsea on the other hand, have had a few interesting patches of form. After Potter took over, they had a few good games under the man before he suffered his first defeat as Chelsea boss to his former employers, Brighton. That was one heavy defeat as well, ruining a pretty fantastic start for the team. Since then, it has been two steps forward and one step backward.
They had a decent result against a struggling Bournemouth, where the two goals came with a stroke of fortune for the side. They struggled in front of the goal against Nottingham Forest and dropped two crucial points, which doesn’t the side at all considering the difficult run of fixtures that are set to follow.
The fans are eagerly waiting to see what the new addition can add to their credentials. While David Datro Fofana and Andrey Santos are earmarked as talents of the future, Benoit Badiashile ought to hit the ground running as Chelsea’s latest in a long line of defensive acquisitions, while progress is believed to have been made in their efforts to bring Benfica and Argentina star Enzo Fernandez to the English capital.
As fans eagerly anticipate news of transfer dealings, Potter is working to improve a meagre tally of just one win from his side’s last seven Premier League contests, although runaway leaders Arsenal are the only side to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in top-flight action this term.
CHE vs MCI, Premier League 2022/23
Date: January 6, 2023
Time: 1:30 AM IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
Chelsea Premier League form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
Manchester City Premier League form:
Manchester City form (all competitions):
Chelsea wins: 49
Manchester City wins: 41
Chelsea team news:
Chelsea’s medical team have quite a task in hand and continue to work overtime on long-term absentees N’Golo Kante and Armando Broja – who have since been joined by Reece James and his latest knee problem, which could rule him out for up to a month.
Their big money signing last summer, Wesley Fofana is unlikely to make the cut here either, but there is optimism over Ruben Loftus-Cheek – who has now returned to training from a calf injury – and Ben Chilwell, although the latter may have to wait until the trip to Fulham next week. Edouard Mendy, meanwhile, is still absent with his shoulder issue.
A recall to the midfield should be in order for Mateo Kovacic – who may very well take the place of Jorginho rather than the emerging Denis Zakaria – while Christian Pulisic can feel confident of holding his place on the left flank.
Raheem Sterling will be back against his old club, for whom he scored 91 times in 225 matches over a terrific seven year spell. He scored against Bournemouth with a tinge of fortune and is expected to start this game as well.
Manchester City team news:
In contrast, the Etihad treatment room is down to just two players in Aymeric Laporte (back) and Ruben Dias (hamstring), but the former will be assessed and could be in with a chance of earning some minutes here.
Argentinian World Cup hero Julian Alvarez returned off the bench against Everton and should be one of several players in contention for recalls to the first XI alongside Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan, with Guardiola holding off on the changes until the 87th minute of Saturday’s match.
Only a few days after claiming that Kalvin Phillips returned from the World Cup overweight, Guardiola performed a sensational U-turn and hailed the England midfielder’s physique as he returned to the Etihad bench, but his “perfect body” – as Guardiola labelled it – should not be enough to earn him a start.
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Silva, Koulibaly, Cucurella; Kovacic, Zakaria; Sterling, Mount, Pulisic; Aubameyang
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Akanji, Cancelo; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Silva, Haaland, Foden
Chelsea have lost their last two games against Manchester City at home and only two other teams in PL have managed to win three games in a row at the Stamford Bridge – Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal. This isn’t the record Potter would want his side to triple-up on and considering the fact that City did a simple double over them last season, the pressure is entirely on Chelsea to defy the odds.
Pep Guardiola’s team have lost just seven games in all his 34 visits to London as a PL manager, winning 22 matches and drawing five. All of those defeats have come against Chelsea (three defeats) and Tottenham (4 defeats) and he maintains his unbeaten record against Arsenal. However, what will make the Spaniard think is the fact that despite being a bit scruffy in front of the goal, Chelsea have only lost one game in their last 11 PL home matches.
Chelsea, even if they drop points, have found a way to score in their last 29 matches except for the 1-0 defeat against Arsenal recently. Will this be enough to register a big result? That is the massive question, but our prediction is for Manchester City to edge this game 1-0 and keep a clean sheet against the Blues’ struggling attacking force.