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English Premier League: Chelsea vs Man City


Premier League football’s midweek action concludes with a mouth-watering clash between Frank Lampard’s Chelsea and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Since the restart of the season, we have learned that the bigger clubs which possess more depth and quality in their squads will have the upper hand and clear advantage.

The addition of five substitutions being allowed and the hectic schedule of just three days between matches to recover and prepare will play significant roles. Chelsea have had the best squad in English football for a good period of time but City have overtaken the Blues in that respect over the past few years.

However, Super Frank is on a mission to make Chelsea the best team in the land again after last winning the Premier League in 2016/17. Recent signings such as midfielder Hakim Ziyech and striker Timo Werner will definitely make Chelsea contenders for next season’s Premier League title when they join up with Lampard’s impressive and youthful squad at Stamford Bridge.

If all 10 substitutions are made on Thursday night, we are in for a treat as 32 of world football’s brightest stars will be on display. The Blues will be aiming to claim third spot by leapfrogging Leicester and to distance themselves from the chasing Manchester United, Wolves and Sheffield United with a victory over last season’s champions. If City fail to win the match, it could mean that Liverpool are crowned champions on the same night.

Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore

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English Premier League 
Thursday 25 June   
Stamford Bridge  
21:15

To Win 
Chelsea 3/1
Draw 28/10
Man City 17/20 

Chelsea

Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has been a controversial figure at the club since arriving for a world-record fee and rumours in the past week suggest that Lampard is keen on signing Manchester United’s Dean Henderson who was on loan to Sheffield United and has kept 11 clean sheets in the league this season. Fikayo Tomori is the only defender that will miss the clash through injury. 

Reece James could return to the starting eleven and claim the right-back berth ahead of club-captain Cesar Azpilicueta who provided two assists at Villa Park. Marcos Alonso played left-back against Aston Villa and provided great crosses into the box for Olivier Giroud. Kurt Zouma might be added to the pair of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to form a back-three if Lampard’s tactics call for it. 

N'Golo Kante enjoyed the match against Villa in a deeper role alongside Mateo Kovacic. The pair provided the team with an excellent hub to play off. Ruben Loftus-Cheek started his first match of the season after recovering from a ruptured achilles. Fellow Englishmen Ross Barkley and “Scottish Iniesta” Billy Gilmour will provide healthy competition in midfield. Jorginho will also return to the squad after serving a one-match suspension.

Mason Mount was the player that impressed the most. He was exhilarating to watch, taking on defenders at break-neck speeds and will be one of the first names on the team sheet. Willian provided great width and always posed a threat on the right-flank, together with Mount they created serious problems for the opposition defenders. 

Giroud was substituted for Tammy Abraham and it could be the other way around this time. The energetic Abraham will provide both a great physical presence and speed on the counter attack. Christian Pulisic came off the bench and scored five minutes later, the American will be in line to start. 

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Manchester City

Manchester City’s goalkeeper Ederson collided with young Spanish central-defender Eric Garcia who suffered a concussion and was stretchered off the Etihad pitch by paramedics against Arsenal. John Stones is still recovering from an ankle injury so Aymeric Laporte may be paired with Nicolas Otamendi or Brazilian Fernandinho, both defenders started against Burnley as Guardiola made eight changes to the starting eleven.

Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker look like the preferred starting full backs, both looked to be in great shape against Arsenal and were rested last time out. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Joao Cancelo will be hungry to get some playing time but will have to settle for the bench after starting against Burnley. 

There is plenty of depth in midfield, Kevin De Bruyne was rested and brought on for a cameo, the Belgian will lead City’s charges against his former employers. David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan are likey to start with Phil Foden and Rodri coming off the bench. However, Foden has scored three of City’ eight goals since returning and will be knocking on his manager’s door to get the nod for a starting berth.

Leroy Sane is finally fit again but we haven’t seen the German winger feature yet. Guardiola claimed last week that despite attempting to tie down Sane to a long-term contract, the former-Schalke man has his heart set on a return to Germany and starring for Bayern Munich. 

Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling will provide the width for City, Mahrez netted twice in the 5-0 routing of Burnley. Sergio Aguero was taken off after a challenge by Ben Mee saw the Argentine centre-forward hurt his ankle and replaced by Gabriel Jesus. Brazilian striker Jesus could lead the line as he did against Arsenal.

Probable line-ups:

Chelsea: 4-2-3-1
Kepa; James, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Kante, Jorginho; Willian, Mount, Pulisic; Abraham.

Man City: 4-3-3
Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Mendy; D. Silva, De Bruyne, Gundogan; Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus.

Prediction: Man City (17/20)
City have plenty depth in their squad and resources on the bench if needed. Lampard’s obvious area for improvement would be his record against the top-six sides. Although Chelsea have looked impressive, City look unstoppable but I won’t go into any of the exotic markets in this clash at Stamford Bridge. Instead, I’ll back City to claim maximum points at 17/20. 

Written by Bryan Naicker