League leaders Manchester City host Chelsea in match week 29 of the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday with the knowledge that a win will edge them closer to a third league title in six years.
The Citizens head into this tie with a hot streak of five wins in six matches including doing a double against Arsenal in the league cup and Premier League inside this week. Chelsea on the hand are on a rocky patch having notched just two wins in the last six matches across all competitions.
This match is significant for Chelsea because of the race for Champions League qualification. Whereas City would like to wrap the title at the earliest opportunity, Chelsea is placed fifth on 53 points. Fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspurs (55) play Huddersfield on Saturday and could potentially be five points clear by the time the Blues’ match kicks off.
In the last five league matches between the two sides, City have won three against Chelsea’s two. In September 2017, Kevin De Bruyne’s strike secured a narrow 1-0 win over Chelsea during their last meeting at Stamford Bridge
For City, Fernandinho is set to miss out after getting a thigh injury during the Carabao Cup final win against Arsenal. Ilkay Gundogan is expected to play that defensive midfield role again in his absence. Winger Raheem Sterling is also struggling with a thigh strain while Benjamin Mendy is out until April.
Fabian Delph is out serving his last match of a three game suspension. Right back Kyle Walker is expected to start despite suffering a knee and back injury in the league match at Arsenal.
For Chelsea, Tiemoue Bakayoko has a knock while Ross Barkley has missed the last couple of matches due to a thigh injury. Blues’ boss Antonio Conte is expected to stick with the majority of the squad that lost 1-2 to Manchester United. For creativity, he may deploy Cesc Fabregas in place of Danny Drinkwater.
Whereas City are in firm control of their destiny, Chelsea are in the battle to finish in the top four. With only 10 matches left to play, grabbing every point becomes imperative at this stage.
Prediction: Manchester City 2 Chelsea 0
Probable line ups
Manchester City: Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Danilo, Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero
Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta, Ngolo Kante, Cesc Fabregas, Victor Moses, Marcos Alonso, Willian, Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata.