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Chelsea v Man City: Talking Points

CHASING DOWN: City's defence will have to work hard to keep out Falcao in the second leg

CHASING DOWN: City's defence will have to work hard to keep out Falcao in the second leg

Ahead of Manchester City's crucial Premier League trip to Chelsea, Club journalist Jack Mumford has taken a look at some of the pre-match talking points...

Conte's Crystal comeback

Pep Guardiola said in Tuesday’s press conference that he believes Chelsea’s loss against Crystal Palace will focus their mind on tonight’s game.

This is no ordinary midweek match though and both Guardiola and Antonio Conte will be acutely aware of the consequences of a positive result.

The Italian has not lost consecutive home matches since 2009, while in charge of Atalanta, but it’s City’s task to end that eight-year record on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.

Should Chelsea lose and Tottenham maintain their form, tonight’s hosts may find their lead down to one point by the time they next play. City could also find themselves back in the hunt for the title and would sure up their top four standing.

However, three points for Chelsea would almost certainly see them over the horizon with just eight matches to play.

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Being clinical

City's 3-1 Etihad Stadium loss to the Premier League leaders in December was a source of frustration for City fans and players alike.

City took the lead moments before half-time through Gary Cahill’s own goal and should have doubled their advantage ten minutes into the second half when Jesus Navas’ inviting cross was diverted over the bar by a stretching Kevin De Bruyne.

City were made to pay by a swift and prolific Chelsea frontline in a match that underlined the title credentials of the visitors.

For City, it was a sign of the need to be at your best in both boxes and armed with a slice of luck in order to beat the finest opponents.

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No Bac at right-back

Pep confirmed on Tuesday that Bacary Sagna will be out for two to three more weeks but that Pablo Zabaleta is fit for selection.

Jesus Navas held his own in an unfamiliar full-back position against Alexis Sanchez on Sunday but the task of supervising Eden Hazard is arguably an even bigger challenge.

Fernandinho has also slotted in there from time to time during the campaign but can City afford to lose him from the midfield battle with N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic?

With much of the team settled in their roles, the right-back area is sure to be where eyes are drawn to when the team is announced at 7pm.

Clash of styles

While it’s fair to say Chelsea took to their new manager’s plans quicker than most in the Premier League, City are growing into the 4-3-3 that Guardiola has set up for them.

Antonio Conte’s regularly line up in a 3-4-3 formation with wing backs and wide players in the front three spreading the pitch as far as possible.

The dynamism of the likes of Eden Hazard, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso out by the touchlines means the leaders can turn defence into attack very quickly without compromising on defensive cover should they lose the ball. City’s build-up play from back to front tends to be more considered.

Both styles clearly have their merits and as Pep Guardiola has pointed out several times this season, the biggest results rely on a team’s composure and instinct in both boxes.

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Creative club

David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane could all start for City.

With Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa, 14 and 17 Premier League goals this season respectively, to supply it’s a match that’s unlikely to end goalless.

De Bruyne is currently joint with Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson at the top of the assists rankings with 11. The Belgian also sits third in the Premier League for key passes with Silva in seventh ahead of Chelsea’s chief creator Eden Hazard in tenth.

Sterling and Sane are both operating with a successful take on percentage of 60%, a skill that may prove crucial in manufacturing space for City.

With N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic covering every blade of grass in Chelsea’s midfield looking to stop City controlling the ball, Pep’s men will have to be at their creative best.

There will be full coverage of Chelsea v Manchester City on mancity.com and across the club's digital channels.

Media Watch

Ballack: Sane is the future of Germany

SPOTTED: Gael Clichy looking right down the lens.

Manchester City face Chelsea later today in one of the biggest Premier League matches on the calendar and there are plenty of headlines ahead of the match.

Leroy Sane, Antonio Conte, Pep Guardiola, Jose Gaya, Pepe and Theo Hernandez are all mentioned in this morning's media round-up.

First Team News

De Bruyne: City are heading in the right direction

ON THE ATTACK: KDB leads a counter attack for the Blues.

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has claimed that, despite a few hiccups, City are playing better football than ever before.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne previews Chelsea v Manchester City in the Premier League.

Picture Special

Preparing for the league leaders