Our live stream ahead of Sundays Premier League match, Chelsea vs Man City is now up and running, kicking off at 16.30 GMT.
You can keep an eye on the commentary as it happens below, but first, we take a preview into the fixture, lineups, predictions and much more…
The New Year brings new opportunities for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, who will be aiming to wipe the slate clean after a spate of underwhelming results over the festive period, latest of which being held to a 1-1 draw by Aston Villa in their last match of 2020.
The Blues faithful have only been treated to a solitary win from their side’s last six matches in all competitions, but even then that 3-0 derby victory over West Ham United simply papered over the cracks that have begun to appear at Stamford Bridge.
There is no shame in losing at the home of Everton or Wolverhampton Wanderers, but when you are a Chelsea side with ambitions of Premier League glory after a £200m summer spending spree, your title credentials will undoubtedly be called into question after back-to-back defeats to European hopefuls.
Lampard’s men deserved nothing from their Boxing Day trip to Arsenal and that is exactly what they got, but welcoming Aston Villa to the fortress of Stamford Bridge represented the perfect opportunity for the Blues to rectify the mistakes they made at the Emirates Stadium. One they didn’t take full advantage of.
Manchester City were starting to mount a genuine title charge before Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus both tested positive for COVID-19.
The absences of Walker and Jesus did not affect City’s Boxing Day clash with Newcastle – in which Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres both found the back of the net in a comfortable victory – but following several new cases their proposed midweek clash with Everton had to be called off.
Sunday’s enticing showdown with Chelsea was thrust into the realms of uncertainty after news of the outbreak broke, but City’s first game of 2021 is expected to go ahead as planned as they endeavour to stretch their winning run across all competitions to four matches.
The four-time Premier League champions’ comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle on Boxing Day stretched their unbeaten run across all competitions to 10 matches since November’s defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, and should the visitors pick up all three points here, they will have won three games on the bounce in the top flight for the first time this season.
The two clubs last met in June with Chelsea running out 2-1 victors at Stamford Bridge…
‘I have ideas. We have a big squad, we’ll have to see if that changes, if there are opportunities for players who aren’t playing so much.”
“That will be a conversation between the player, club and myself.”
‘Then we’ll see if we can strengthen in the right way, but we’re not jumping up and down to do so.”
“My focus this year is purely on work because we have new players, because we have young players, so I’m focusing on that. But we’ll see, it’s a long month.’
Getting back to winning ways…
“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.”
“I’m confident in us as a team because I know when we play as well as we can, particularly at Stamford Bridge, we have an opportunity to beat anybody.”
“So I’m confident in us, but I know we need to be at our best to win because of the level of opposition.”
“They’re a very strong outfit, very well managed, they don’t concede many, they have lots of threats in attacking areas. So we’ll have to focus on ourselves and be at our best.”
On Manchester City…
“It’s a game we want to win against a very good opposition. They’re always going to be there or there abouts so to be up there with them, even with our recent run of form in the last few games, is a plus and an opportunity to win a game against a competitor.”
“It’s important because we come off the back of a few games where we’ve not been at our best and we’ve dropped a few points.”
“Fortunately we had a long unbeaten run before that so the league table doesn’t look too bad, we’re very close to the top four positions.”
“It’s important for us mentally, because we need to start winning games regularly.”
On rotating squad…
“Like I’ve said before, I don’t even think about what will happen on Carabao Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday,”
“We will travel to London and get tests from Premier League and see who are negative, we then decide the team [to face Chelsea].”
“For sure we will prepare for the FA Cup third round with the best team we have. That’s for sure. Maybe I use EDS or U23s we will see – but the team will play to win, that is for sure, the people who know me know that we will never drop one competition, ever.”
“When the opponent is better, we congratulate them, but we go to Stamford Bridge to play to win.”
On adapting through the pandemic…
“Not just myself, all people around the world manage a weird and strange and new situation, and the best way is to adapt,”
“If the Premier League say go and play at Goodison park, we go there knowing the risk for what could happen if we go there and contaminate.”
“The protocols are good, the rules are good, but right now there are a lot of doubts about the pandemic situation, even with doctors.”
“Sometimes you have to take decisions. You have to adapt day by day.”
“I know the economy is important and we are lucky to be able to do our job, some people can’t. We are fortunate to be able to do what we do.”
“But the health of people is the most important thing. It is important to be safe. And then after that, step by step, we can recover the economies all around the world.”
Chelsea Premier League form: WLLWLD
Chelsea form (all competitions): DLLWLD
Manchester City Premier League form: WWDDWW
Manchester City form (all competitions): WDDWWW
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Silva, Chilwell; Kante, Kovacic, Mount; Pulisic, Abraham, Werner
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Steffen; Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Mendy; Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling; Aguero
Under 2.5 Goals – 11/10 with FanTeam
For two sides usually best known for scoring goals, it’s been the defensive output that has received most plaudits this season. Chelsea and Manchester City among the leads most consistent defences and their approach in big games suggests a low-scoring game is likely here.
Chelsea’s form is concerning but the majority of their sub-par performances have come away from home. Manchester City are likely to be without several first-team players and are unlikely to be too disappointed with a share of the spoils.
Time to take a look at our Chelsea vs Manchester City live match stream as it happens…