After surprisingly dropping points again on New Years’ Eve, can Manchester City start to build some momentum?
At the weekend, despite Erling Braut Håland’s early opener, the Citizens could only draw 1-1 with relegation-threatened Everton at the Etihad.
Man City ended the afternoon with an xG figure of 2.07, to the Toffees’ 0.08, but were unable to find a late winner.
Having lost to Brentford just before the World Cup break, the champions have now failed to win successive home league games for the first time since May 2021.
This leaves Pep Guardiola’s team eight points behind league-leaders Arsenal, after the Gunners could only draw with Newcastle on Tuesday.
Given that they face Manchester United (A) and Tottenham twice between now and 5 February, this would be an ideal time for Man City to kick-start a winning streak.
Chelsea meantime are all the way down in ninth, below both West London rivals Brentford and Fulham.
The Blues’ underwhelming form continued on New Year’s Day, held to a 1-1 draw by Nottingham Forest, despite Raheem Sterling’s opener at the City Ground.
So, Graham Potter’s team have won just one of their last seven league matches, beating only Bournemouth since mid-October.
This leaves Chelsea seven points adrift of the Champions League places and a whopping 11 points below their visitors.
Manchester City have won their last three meetings with Chelsea, including a 2-0 Carabao Cup victory just 57 days ago.
Will they extend that streak to four at Stamford Bridge?
Chelsea team news
Édouard Mendy, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kanté and Armando Broja are all out long-term.
With those first-choice full-backs sidelined, César Azpilicueta and Marc Cucurella will continue in those positions, despite poor form.
In midfield, Denis Zakaria is set to start a third league game in a row, despite only seeing 139 minutes of action in any competition prior to his Premier League debut nine days ago.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will remain on the bench, with Kai Havertz, who scored the winner when these clubs met in a Champions League final, leading the line.
Meantime, Raheem Sterling, who made 339 appearances in sky blue, will face Man City in the league for the first time since leaving in July.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly, Cucurella; Zakaria, Jorginho, Kovačić; Sterling, Mount, Havertz.
Manchester City team news
Erling Braut Håland has already scored a ridiculous 27 goals for Man City this season, only failing to find the net in three of 16 Premier League outings so far.
Teenager Rico Lewis has started all three games post-World Cup, but the vastly more experienced duo of Kyle Walker and João Cancelo will surely return at full-back here.
İlkay Gündoğan and Phil Foden, who were also on the bench on Saturday, are both likely to come in as well.
Riyāḍ Maḥrez has scored three career goals against Chelsea, including a free-kick in November’s Carabao Cup tie.
Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne has netted five times against his former club, the joint-most he’s managed against any opponent.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Aké, Cancelo; Rodri Gündoğan, De Bruyne; Maḥrez, Foden, Håland.