For the third time this season, and for the second time in just four days, Manchester City and Chelsea go head-to-head.
Back in November, Man City prevailed in a Carabao Cup tie between the two, with Riyāḍ Maḥrez and Julián Álvarez the scorers.
Then, in Thursday night’s Premier League clash, Maḥrez broke the deadlock again, this time converting Jack Grealish’s cross as the Citizens left Stamford Bridge 1-0 winners.
That victory means Pep Guardiola’s team are now just five points behind league-leaders Arsenal, ahead of a trip to Old Trafford next weekend.
In FA Cup terms, the Sky Blues have lifted this trophy on six occasions, most-recently doing so in 2019.
In fact, Man City have reached the semi-finals of this competition in each of the last four seasons, last falling at the first hurdle in 2012 as holders.
In stark contrast, Chelsea are all the way down in tenth place in the Premier League, having won just one of their last eight, their worst form since José Mourinho was sacked eight years ago.
Climbing the table is certainly Graham Potter’s priority right now, but he’ll be desperate to avoid yet another defeat here.
Man City have won their last four meetings with Chelsea, without conceding, so everything points towards a home win at the Etihad.
Manchester City team news
The games are coming thick and fast for Pep Guardiola’s team, who have a League Cup quarter-final on Wednesday before a Manchester derby on Saturday.
Even if he does rotate heavily, the XI on show will still have been acquired for hundreds of millions.
Back-up goalkeeper Stefan Ortega will make his fifth appearance, conceding just three times so far.
Rico Lewis and Sergio Gómez will come in at full-back, while Kalvin Phillips, Cole Palmer and Jack Grealish will also come into the XI.
Centre-backs Rúben Dias and Aymeric Laporte are both out injured.
Julián Álvarez will start for the first time since the World Cup Final, with Erling Braut Håland’s FA Cup debut likely to come from the bench.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Ortega; Lewis, Akanji, Aké, Gómez; Phillips, Palmer, Silva; Maḥrez, Grealish, Álvarez.
Chelsea team news
As for Chelsea, they’re going to need a bigger treatment room, as the injury list continues to grow every game.
Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic hobbled off on Thursday, after Mason Mount was ruled out pre-match.
They join Édouard Mendy, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kanté, Armando Broja and Ruben Loftus-Cheek who were already sidelined.
Graham Potter’s team have a key West London derby against Fulham on Thursday, but he has limited scope to rotate given the absentees.
Youngsters Lewis Hall, Carney Chukwuemeka and Omari Hutchinson all came off the bench on Thursday, and could all start here.
At the back, will Benoît Badiashile make his debut after joining from Monaco for £35 million?
In goal, it’ll be interesting to see if Kepa Arrizabalaga keeps his place, or if either Marcus Bettinelli or new signing Gaga Slonina are handed their debuts.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be seeking his first goal since early-October.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Koulibaly, Chalobah, Hall; Jorginho, Gallagher, Chukwuemeka; Ziyech, Hutchinson, Aubameyang.