Men's Team

Guardiola makes nine changes for Stamford Bridge showdown

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Pep Guardiola has made nine changes to the side that defeated Wycombe 6-1 in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup third round tie at the Etihad.

Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden keep their starting places, with Ederson, Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Joao Cancelo, Rodrigo, Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus all coming back into Guardiola’s XI.

Zack Steffen, Ferran Torres, Romeo Lavia, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling, all of whom started on Tuesday, drop to the bench.  

John Stones returns to the squad after an injury absence. His last game came for England in Poland on September 8.

However, Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko both miss out through injury.

City are looking to make it back-to-back victories at Stamford Bridge after last season’s outstanding 3-1 win in West London. It would be the first time since 1955 we’ve managed to do so in consecutive top-flight matches.

None of the last 12 Premier League matches between the two sides have ended in a draw, with City winning seven to Chelsea’s five.

And a win today would see Guardiola move on to 221 victories for Manchester City – more than any other manager in our history.

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Teams

Chelsea XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, James, Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso, Lukaku, Werner

Subs: Arrizabalaga, Chilwell, Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech

City XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, Bernardo, Foden, Grealish, De Bruyne, Jesus

Subs: Steffen, Stones, Ake, Sterling, Torres, Fernandinho, Mahrez, Palmer, Lavia

Tactics

It's the usual 4-3-3 formation for City in this early Saturday kick off. 

But without an out-and-out striker, the question is who will lead the line for Pep Guardiola's side? 

Ederson returns in goal, with Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte paired together at the heart of our defence. Kyle Walker, making his 500th club appearance, will add width on the overlap down the right-hand side, with Joao Cancelo, playing at left-back, likely to step inside and add numbers in midfield as City attempt to dominate possession. 

Rodrigo will screen the back four, with Bernardo Silva's energy and Phil Foden's guile just ahead of him. 

Jack Grealish will start on the left, with Gabriel Jesus likely to operate on the right, which leaves Kevin De Bruyne to play a False 9 role. 

It's a side full of movement, fluidity and creativity, with each of our forward players given licence to roam. 

Chelsea are in imperious form in the Premier League thus far, with 13 points from a possible 15 and just a single goal conceded.

And in summer signing Romelu Lukaku, they have a new edge upfront. The Belgian’s battle with Dias looks set to be key.

It’s all set up to be a fine encounter.

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WATCH: Pep: says it will be 'an honour' to beat 58-year win record

Stats

Head-to-head

  • Chelsea could record four consecutive victories against Manchester City in all competitions for the first time since an eight-match sequence between 2005 and 2009.
  • City are vying to win back-to-back games at Stamford Bridge in the top flight, a feat they last achieved in 1955.
  • None of the past 12 league encounters have been drawn, with Chelsea winning five to City's seven.

Chelsea

  • Chelsea have conceded one league goal this season, their lowest total at this stage since 2010, when - coincidentally - they lost their sixth match 1-0 to Manchester City.
  • They have kept 15 clean sheets in 24 Premier League games under Thomas Tuchel, more than any other side since the German took charge.
  • The Blues are unbeaten in 91 top-flight home matches in which they led at half-time since a 5-3 loss against Arsenal in 2011 (W75, D16).
  • Romelu Lukaku is the only Chelsea player to net more than one top-flight goal this season, with the Londoners boasting a league-high 10 different scorers (excluding own goals).
  • Lukaku has five goals in 16 league and cup appearances versus Manchester City, but has failed to score in his last four games against them (all with Manchester United).

Manchester City

  • Manchester City are in danger of failing to score in back-to-back league matches for the first time under Pep Guardiola.
  • City have failed to net in two of their five Premier League games this season - they last drew a blank in at least three of their opening six matches in 2006 under Stuart Pearce.
  • Defeat would leave City with their lowest points tally at this stage since 2013, when they earned 10 from their opening six fixtures but nonetheless eventually won the title.
  • Guardiola has suffered eight defeats versus Chelsea in his managerial career, more than against any other side, including four losses at Stamford Bridge.
  • Kevin de Bruyne has scored in each of his last three top-flight appearances against Chelsea - the only player to net in four consecutive Premier League games against a club they previously played for is Craig Bellamy (versus Newcastle between 2007 and 2011).
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