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Aguero's incredible Chelsea stats

Five talking points ahead of our crucial game on Sunday...

1 Aguero and De Bruyne key?

Two notable absences from City’s 2-0 loss at Stamford Bridge in December were those of Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne.

Both players are in contention to start on Sunday and it’s hard to imagine they won’t be in the starting XI

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Aguero’s record against Chelsea is phenomenal.

 

SPECIAL K: Kevin De Bruyne celebrates after his wonder-goal in a crucial win at Chelsea last season

 

He has tremendous stats against a number of clubs, but not better than Chelsea who he had bagged 12 goals in 16 appearances against.

Add three assists and you have a player who relishes this fixture.

De Bruyne has gradually worked his way back to full match fitness and will be raring to go against his former club.

2 Liverpool look to respond

 

BRAZILIAN BLEND: Fernandinho shields the ball from Brazil team-mate Roberto Firmino

 

City hit pole position with the midweek victory over Everton, but the leader is likely to chop and change in the coming weeks.

Liverpool will start as strong favourites against Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday as they look to respond to successive draws against Leicester City and West Ham United – but the Cherries did get a 2-2 draw at Anfield in April 2017 and will look to give Jurgen Klopp’s side a difficult 90 minutes.

A draw or victory would see Liverpool go top again, at least until City’s game against Chelsea is complete. The Blues must at least match the Reds’ result to remain on top and Liverpool will use their game in hand a week on Sunday when they visit Manchester United.

It goes without saying that three points are crucial for City, as Old Trafford is probably the last place Klopp’s side would want to be going at this stage of the campaign and, given the intense rivalry between the clubs, it’s certainly a game United will want to win.

 

3 Higuain adds a new dimension

He’s only played a couple of games for Chelsea, but it’s already clear that Gonzalo Higuain is a good fit at Stamford Bridge.

His movement and speed look tailor made for the vision of Eden Hazard and the pair could prove to be quite a partnership.

This will only be the second Premier League game the pair have played together, so it’s unlikely that they will be firing on all cylinders just yet, but they will be a genuine threat if they are allowed too much time and space on the ball.

 

KEY ROLE? Nico's experience could be crucual

 

One defender who knows Higuain very well is Nicolas Otamendi who has won dozens of caps for Argentina alongside the on-loan striker and they will have trained countless times together for the national team.

Given his performance against Everton, Nico might be a wise choice for Pep on Sunday.

4 City look for revenge?

The Blues’ December trip to Stamford Bridge was the first of three defeats in four Premier League games, allowing Liverpool to move ahead of City in the title race.

Losses to Crystal Palace and Leicester followed and suddenly the champions were trailing in Liverpool’s wake.

 

LEAD DOUBLED: Luiz heads home Chelsea's second

 

Yet the Blues gave arguably one of the best first-half performances of the campaign at Stamford Bridge, only to be hit by a sucker punch on the stroke of half-time.

After a brief spell by the hosts after the re-start, City again took command but couldn’t find an equaliser and eventually lost 2-0 and saw an unbeaten Premier League run of 21 games end.

The Blues will want to put matters right on Sunday and, as difficult as this game is likely to be, three points would cap a perfect week for Pep’s men.

5 Ederson target

Ederson is involved in a three-way battle – as things stand – with Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga and Liverpool’s Alisson.

Ederson and Arrizabalaga have 11 clean sheets to date and Alisson 13 – Spurs’ Hugo Lloris has nine.

But the City keeper’s emergence in this list suggests some of the defensive issues that the Blues ended 2018 with have been dealt with.

 

CLEAN MACHINE: Ederson looking for first Golden Glove award

 

The Blues failed to keep one clean sheet in December during a run of 11 games without a shut-out.

But since beating Liverpool 2-1 at the start of the New Year, City have kept seven clean sheets in nine games – yes, four of those were in cup games the Blues were expected to win – but this has been continued in the Premier League, with just three goals shipped in the last five matches.

Keeping a potent Chelsea attack at bay on Sunday won’t be easy – the West Londoners have scored 19 goals in 12 games on their travels and, as mentioned earlier, have a wealth of attacking talent to call upon.

The stats suggest this will be a low-scoring game – there haven’t been more than three goals scored between the clubs in the last five meetings - so a clean sheet for City is vital.

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