Chelsea – Manchester City is a huge game in the title hopes for both teams on Sunday (start time 11:30am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at Stamford Bridge, and Americans are on both sides of the pitch.
USMNT keeper Zack Steffen starts for Man City in place of self-isolating Ederson, where he’ll try to keep Christian Pulisic off the scoresheet.
Both teams have 26 points so far this season, but Man City do have two games in hand on Chelsea so a win here for Guardiola’s men will be a huge dent in Chelsea’s aspirations of finishing above them in the table.
However, Pep Guardiola has confirmed that City will be missing at least five players due to COVID-19 cases among his squad, with Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus already confirmed as having tested positive.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has been left seething in recent weeks as the Blues lost at Arsenal and drew at home to Aston Villa last time out as they’ve won just one of their last five games in the Premier League.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Chelsea – Manchester City, a game which will likely have a big impact on which way the rest of the season will go for both teams.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
Chelsea have confirmed that Reece James will miss out due to an ongoing hamstring injury, while Hakim Ziyech could play some part. USMNT star Christian Pulisic is expected to start for the Blues once again.
Manchester City are without Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus, Ederson, and Eric Garcia as positive COVID-19 tests dog the PL powers. Sergio Aguero is on the bench and is being eased back into action off the bench in recent weeks following his lengthy injury absence, while Steffen starts in goal. Ilkay Gundogan has been struggling with a knock too, but plays.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 3, 2021
🚨 TEAM NEWS! 🚨
XI | Steffen, Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko, Rodrigo, Gundogan, De Bruyne (C), Foden, Bernardo, Sterling.
SUBS | Carson, Aguero, Mendy, Fernandinho, Mahrez, Delap, Harwood-Bellis, Mbete.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 3, 2021
What they’re saying
Frank Lampard on Chelsea’s recent form: “Arsenal was probably in my opinion the worst performance of the season, because of our first half, not the second. Against Villa we had more energy and we had opportunities where we should have won the game, but we have to keep those energy levels up. It was slow against Arsenal, it needs to be quick against Manchester City. It also needs to be disciplined against them defensively. So I want to see a lot of discipline in how we defend and a lot of speed in our game when we attack.”
Pep Guardiola on the COVID-19 outbreak at Man City: “We will follow what the Premier League will say. I know they are doing an incredible job with all the extra measures after the first lockdown. But take a look at Newcastle. I spoke to Steve Bruce and he explained how difficult it was for his club who has more than 20 people infected. It can happen here, at Fulham, anywhere around the world. There are many cases around the world. We are delighted to play games but at the same time we cannot ignore the reality that the virus is here and we don’t know exactly when you get it, but you can get it. That’s why we wear masks and social distance.”
Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
Chelsea (+190) are the slight underdogs and their price has no doubt shortened due to the issues within the Man City squad. That side, City (+130) seem like a decent bet considering their recent form and how much quality they have. The draw is +255.
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I do not think Chelsea are in a good place with the way they are playing and City will defend deep and allow Chelsea the ball, then try to hit them on the counter. This will be won in midfield with Kevin de Bruyne v. N’Golo Kante and I think that even with a few key players missing for Man City, they have too much for Chelsea to handle. Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City.
How to watch Chelsea – Manchester City stream and start time
Kick off: 11:30am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com