It’s the welcome return of matchday following the international break – and it's a big game too as City resume Premier League action at home to Chelsea this evening.

Not surprisingly, there’s no shortage of headlines regarding the eagerly-anticipated visit of Frank Lampard’s fellow high-fliers to the Etihad.

Pundits have had their say while Lampard himself has revealed his huge admiration for City – a Club he knows well from his season here back in 2014/15.

And it wouldn’t be media watch without the latest round of transfer rumours surrounding City. Plenty to whet the appetite this Saturday morning, so let’s kick-off…

Predictions

skysports.comCharlie Nicholas’s verdict

“It is a belter of a game, mainly because Manchester City are in fourth - how could we have predicted that at this stage? Chelsea are above them with the youngsters, who have all gone on international duty during the break, and have been scoring. It is the ideal scenario really, almost perfect.

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“N'Golo Kante is back fit and in the side, while Willian is playing well. Marcos Alonso has been alright when he has played and the centre-backs have been great - it looks promising to Chelsea. Frank Lampard will come up with a puzzle for City, but his puzzle will focus on the fact that Pep Guardiola's team are really struggling at the back and Chelsea have pace and technically-gifted players up front.

“It is going to be an open game, so Jorginho and Kante may have to sit deeper than they have been so far this season. I think Chelsea need to stay in the game for 70 minutes or so and then look to adapt to the situation if possible.

“I do think City will want to simply go and beat Chelsea and get the job done with three points - it will up the ante on Liverpool.

“The title race is far from over. Liverpool are in a great position but within three or four games over the festive period they could draw three times and suddenly the title race would be back on - they did it last year. For that reason, I think it will be Man City's day, but it will be such an open game that it will be a treat for everyone watching.”

Prediction: 4-2 

betvictor.com - Michael Owen’s verdict

“The game of the weekend is at the Etihad and champions Manchester City will leapfrog Chelsea in the table if they take all three points.

“City won the corresponding game 6-0 last season but Chelsea did win the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season and only penalties were able to split the sides at Wembley in the League Cup Final back in February.

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“After their defeat at Anfield in their previous game City cannot afford to drop points, especially at the Etihad, if they are to put pressure on Liverpool in their quest for a hat-trick of titles.

“Chelsea have improved under Frank Lampard and their exciting young side are confident and talented. But beware a wounded Pep Guardiola and his side – it will have been a long international break for the City boss.”

Prediction: City win but both teams to score

News

chelseafc.comCity as big a threat as ever, says Lampard

Frank Lampard: "I had a great year at City, I go there with nothing but good feelings. But I am Chelsea manager and I want to win.

"I’ve been watching videos of City a lot. It’s been an overload of watching Manchester City, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and all their fantastic players. They’ve had some injury issues in defensive areas but they’re a great team and as big a threat as they’ve always been in recent years.

"The levels that they and Liverpool have reached over the last two seasons, it’s been incredible. I have nothing but respect for both of them so for us to be in that position (third) is something that I’m pleased with, but I actually want more as well.

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"It worked out well because the year I had in Manchester was perfect for me in terms of what I’m doing now as a manager.

"It opened my eyes to another club, another structure, another dressing room, another coaching philosophy, and then at New York City that continued and it starts to shape what you think is next, so I can’t look back on my career with any negative feelings, even about leaving Chelsea.’

“It will be a great test to see where we’re at, but it won’t be the end story. You can go to Manchester City and lose, any team can because they’re such a strong outfit so I won’t be making huge judgements because our story is three months or so in the making in terms of me being here and some of the younger players coming in.”

premierleague.comAngelino could be key weapon for City

Adrian Clarke: “He has only featured for 242 minutes but Angelino's strengths definitely lie in his attacking capabilities.

“On his full home debut against Saints he played with great confidence, pushing himself deep into the final third as a matter of course.

“In that 2-1 win he delivered 18 crosses from open play, a statistic that has propelled him to the top of the division's rankings.

“Although he has yet to provide an assist, his crosses have led to goals scored by Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva in City's last two matches.

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“If he is selected to face Chelsea the visitors must not allow him the time and space to pick out deliveries from the wing.

“The Blues may be able to get at him when they have the ball, but Angelino has the quality to hurt them when they do not.”

dailystar.co.ukPulisic fitness boost for Chelsea

Alex Harris: “Chelsea ace Christian Pulisic is available for Saturday’s clash with Manchester City.

“USA forward Pulisic was unavailable to play for his country over the international break due to a hip problem sustained against Crystal Palace.

“He has returned to training ahead of the trip to the Etihad Stadium and is in contention to make Frank Lampard’s squad.

“[Pulisic] didn’t go, he was struggling against Palace,” Lampard said at his pre-match press conference. “He has been training and is in contention.”

Transfer gossip

thisisfutbol.comCity join hunt for Zagreb youngster 

Harry Symeou: “According to a report in Italian publication Tuttosport (via Sport Witness), Manchester City are in the ‘front row’ to sign Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Dani Olmo after Pep Guardiola requested his signing.

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“The Citizens will, however, face stiff competition from the likes of Barcelona and Juventus in the pursuit of the 21-year-old’s signature.

“Olmo, who is valued at £27m, is a product of the Barcelona youth academy but made the move to Croatia in 2014 and has since been promoted to the first-team.

“Despite his tender age, the midfielder has already won three Croatian titles, three Croatian cups and was a part of the Spanish squad that won the European Under 21 Championship earlier this year.

“The player has made 102 appearances for Dinamo Zagreb in league competition, scoring 22 goals – making him a one-in-five man. But his ability to create goals and lay on chances for his teammates should not go unnoticed. Olmo has provided an impressive 17 assists during that time.”