PL Preview: Chelsea vs Manchester City
- Man City has won the last 3 meetings 4-0
- Chelsea has won 2 of its last 5 PL matches
- Eden Hazard on an 11-match scoreless streak
Maurizio Sarri has problems to solve for the first time this season, and any lingering issues will be under siege as Chelsea hosts Manchester City on Saturday. (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).
The Blues need Eden Hazard to return to his best, now without a goal in 11 straight matches for club and country. Hazard does have three assists in his last five Premier League matches, but has not found the back of the net since early October in a 3-0 win over Southampton. In addition, it’s likely that Jorginho and David Luiz will both return to the Blues starting lineup, as they were rested in the midweek match against Wolves, which led to a second loss in three matches.
On the other side, Leroy Sane is rounding into form after a tumultuous offseason. The 22-year-old has four goals in his last five matches, and has re-emerged as a starting option for Pep Guardiola. He’s likely to retain his starting spot as Kevin de Bruyne is not expected to return from injury.
Man City sits two points above Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table, while Chelsea is level with Arsenal on points, but sits in fourth, ahead of the Gunners on goal differential.
What they’re saying
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on facing recent difficulties: “I knew very well that sooner or later we have to face difficulties. When you change the way of playing, the way of football, you need to change the mentality. We have a problem to manage the match at the moment. In the last two matches we played well for 55, 60 minutes, then the first difficulty we went in blackout. We didn’t react as a team, but as 11 players - in 11 different ways. So it’s a big problem.”
Man City boss Pep Guardiola on beating Chelsea last season: “Last season, winning there was more than three points. It showed we could do it. It was an important step for last season, the first important game away against the last champion. In that moment, it was important to say, ‘We can go anywhere and deliver a good performance – winning and with a good performance.”
If any team can smell fear in an opponent, it’s Manchester City. Pep Guardiola has trained his side to take advantage of any slight imperfection in the opposition, and with Chelsea in a bad way of late, the pre-match narrative carries weight here. Manchester City pulls off a 3-1 win over the Blues, leaving Chelsea with another reminder that Sarri needs time to truly turn them into title contenders.