Chelsea will be facing their biggest rival for the title, in what is arguably the biggest match this season. Manchester City will be looking to put a stop to Chelsea’s unbeaten streak so far this season. In the event that they fail woefully and the Blues pick all 3 points at the Etihad, the Blues will be 8 points clear of the team many have tagged their closest title contender this season.
As far as moral and momentum go, the London team will have the upper hand as they are unbeaten in all competitions this season, while their opponents City, have already lost twice and drawn once.
Manchester City are going into Sunday’s game on the back of a loss against Bayern Munich after they almost clinched a hard fought draw in Germany. The game before that was a scintillating 2-2 draw against Arsenal. The team from Manchester will be feeling the pressure immensely.
After their draw in the game against Schalke in Germany on Wednesday, in which the Blues managed to rest a few players for the Manchester City game on Sunday, here are 4 players we feel will be making a return to the starting line-up for the epic clash;
Diego Costa will come in for the Ivorian Didier Drogba
After an attempt to completely rest the forward turned south, with the Blues throwing him on because they needed to win, Diego Costa will coming back for the City game after taking a few minutes rest midweek;
“…he was not in condition to play. Sunday we believe he is. Playing on Saturday three days was not enough for him to recover”. – Jose Mourinho in the press conference after the Schalke clash
The Chelsea boss confirmed that Diego Costa was left out, so he could be ready to take part on Sunday. It is just about certain that we will be seeing him lead the line against City, barring any unforeseen relapse in his injury.
Cesar Azpilicueta will come in for Filipe Luis
The left back/right back was not available against Schalke 04, as he was given a much deserved rest so he could come back refreshed for the game at the Etihad. Regarded as arguably the best one on one defender in the league, his presence will be a welcome sight in light of Chelsea’s current defensive woes.
Oscar will come in for Willian
Oscar started the game from the bench in their Champions League match day one clash against Schalke 04. He will slot in at the centre of the attack and will be used to help track Yaya Toure by dropping back from his number 10 role to complete a 3 man midfield when his team is without the ball.
Ramires goes out for Schurrle to come in, allowing Fabregas play alongside Matic
With Ramires going out and Schurrle slotting in on the right side of the attacking midfield position, Cesc Fabregas will be able to complete the double pivot.
A defining factor in Chelsea’s attacking dominance this season has been Fabregas’s role as the deep lying playmaker. The Spaniard’s ability to dictate the game’s tempo from deep will be instrumental in opening up Manchester City’s competent defence. The Blues will compensate for the lack of Ramires’s defensive impetus by having Oscar drop back to help the midfield maintain its defensive organization.
Jose Mourinho will be hoping that the return of his star men to the starting eleven tilts the tie in their favour.