Can Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea arrest Manchester City’s 11-game winning streak?

PREMIER LEAGUE Can Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea arrest Manchester City’s 11-game winning streak?

Mark Kinyanjui 10:30 - 17.02.2024

Chelsea travel to the Etihad Stadium hoping to end Manchester City's consecutive run of 11 consecutive games with a win.

Manchester City and Chelsea will renew acquaintances at the Etihad Stadium for a Premier League showdown on Saturday evening three months after their epic 4-4 showdown the last time they faced each other.

While City aims to narrow the gap with league leaders Liverpool, Chelsea is focused on bolstering their chances for a top-seven finish.

 City is in pursuit of another historic treble and is currently riding a remarkable 11-match winning streak across all competitions. 

Their latest triumph, a 3-1 away victory over Copenhagen in the Champions League last-16, showcased goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Phil Foden.

 Now, the Citizens turn their attention back to the Premier League title race, aiming to close the two-point gap with Liverpool.

Guardiola's men are gearing up for a series of home fixtures, looking to maintain their stronghold at the Etihad where they haven't lost in the last 22 Premier League games.

 They have a favorable record against Chelsea at home, winning six of their last eight encounters. However, defensive concerns persist, with Man City conceding in 11 of their last 13 league games.

On the other hand, Chelsea's season has been marked by inconsistency, leading to a mid-table position. 

Despite two heavy defeats to Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers, they recently secured crucial 3-1 away wins against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. 

Currently sitting in 10th place, Chelsea is still in contention for European football next season, trailing seventh-placed Newcastle United by two points and sixth-placed Manchester United by seven.

Chelsea's recent form, highlighted by a lack of consistency, poses a challenge as they face a formidable opponent in Man City. 

The Blues have failed to win any of their last seven meetings with City since their 2021 Champions League final triumph. Additionally, Chelsea has conceded in 18 of their last 19 Premier League clashes with the Citizens, emphasizing the defensive challenge they will face on Saturday.

Team news

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Jack Grealish (groin) and Josko Gvardiol (ankle) will be sidelined for two to three weeks, ruling them out of the upcoming clash with Chelsea. Bernardo Silva (ankle) will undergo assessment before kickoff.

Former Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who missed the last two games with a minor knee problem, is available for selection.

 Sergio Gomez has also returned to first-team training. Nathan Ake is expected to continue on the left side of defense in the absence of Gvardiol. 

Ruben Dias may be joined at center-back by either John Stones or Manuel Akanji, who could also partner with Rodri in midfield.

With Grealish out, Jeremy Doku and Phil Foden are set to compete for a starting position on the left wing.

 Julian Alvarez, rested in midweek, will aim to return to the first XI. If fit, De Bruyne and Bernardo could also contend for the position behind Erling Haaland, who scored two goals against Chelsea earlier this season.

On the Chelsea side, Thiago Silva is ruled out with a groin injury. Levi Colwill is set to partner Axel Disasi at center-back in his absence.

 Carney Chukwuemeka, who twisted his ankle in training, joins a list of unavailable players, including Benoit Badiashile, Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Reece James, Romeo Lavia, and Lesley Ugochukwu.

However, Chelsea will see the return of goalkeeper Roberto Sanchez, who has recovered from a knee injury and is expected to start in place of Dorde Petrovic.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino has recently used Cole Palmer as a false nine, but the effectiveness of this decision is yet to be proven. Pochettino may opt to move Palmer back to the right flank, allowing Nicolas Jackson or Christopher Nkunku to lead the line. Nkunku notably scored a hat-trick in his last visit to the Etihad with his former club RB Leipzig.

Predicted line-ups

Manchester City : Ederson; Walker, Dias, Ake , Stones, Rodri; Bernardo, De Bruyne, Alvarez, Foden; Haaland

Chelsea : Sanchez, Gusto, Disasi, Colwill, Chilwell; Fernandez, Caicedo, Palmer, Gallagher, Jackson,  Nkunku

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