This is the final game in a very tough week for Manchester City. They sit in the best possible position they could have been in, after taking six points with victories against Arsenal and Everton.
Pep Guardiola and his side know that they need to complete the set with a victory against Chelsea on Sunday. Liverpool are anticipated to bounce back from their slight drop in form and beat Bournemouth, who are missing both Callum Wilson and David Brooks.
This means that on Sunday, City could be three points behind Liverpool again, thus needing a win against Chelsea.
The players will be up for the big game on Sunday because after having worked so hard to get back within a sniff of the title, it would be disappointing to witness a substandard performance. It could, also, throw away their hard work in the race for Premier League glory.
However, that is what pressure does to any side and we will see if Guardiola’s men have what it takes.
Here’s our predicted line-up for the game.
This position should be fixed unless Ederson picks up an injury in training between now and Sunday. He had a good game against Everton and will look to keep up the same standard against a more potent Chelsea attack.
RB: Kyle Walker
Walker had a solid game against Everton. I think he will get the nod over Danilo because he is better defensively and is quicker, thus a better option to try and limit Eden Hazard as much as possible.
CB: John Stones
I fancy Stones to start the weekend after a good performance against Everton, once again. It is often Guardiola’s preference against a high-intensity team like Chelsea to have his best ball-playing centre-backs.
CB: Aymeric Laporte
I think Laporte will partner Stones at centre-back as he is better on the ball than Nicolas Otamendi. However, his performance at left-back might mean that may be used there again.
Walker gets the nod at right-back ahead of Danilo because I have a slight feeling that Laporte may be played at left-back. However, if he picks City’s best central pairing, Danilo could be preferred to Fabian Delph.
Fernandinho has played all the minutes against Arsenal and Everton and does need to be protected but one final push against Chelsea is needed before he can rest at Newport!
CM: Kevin de Bruyne
He was rested against Everton and I expect him to start and try and work his magic against his old club. He is not quite at his full sharpness but he is pretty much there and City will need him if they are going to push for this title.
CM: Bernardo Silva
David Silva has been in poor form for his high standards recently and Pep recently said that it is ‘Bernardo plus 10’, therefore the little Portuguese workhorse will get the nod.
RW: Raheem Sterling
Like KDB, Raheem was rested against Everton with an eye on him being at his best against Chelsea. He looked sharp and up for it when he replaced Leroy Sané, he will be looking to continue that form.
LW: Leroy Sané
He was poor in midweek and was hooked for Sterling before the hour mark and didn’t feature against Arsenal. I fancy Pep to give him another go as when Sané is on form, he is unreal.
ST: Gabriel Jesus
I cannot see Sergio Aguero starting three games in a row, and Jesus is in fine form and deserves a chance to play in a big game!