The Saturday lunchtime kick-off at the Etihad Stadium could have wide-reaching implications for the destination of this season’s Premier League title.
Were Manchester City to emerge victorious, it would put them a cavernous 13 points ahead of Chelsea and see them extend their epic winning run.
However, the Blues clearly have nothing to lose and to that end, Thomas Tuchel has picked a strong XI with Hakim Ziyech likely to be pulling the strings in an attacking midfield role.
Romelu Lukaku could certainly get the West London club’s supporters back onside with a goal or two, particularly if it contributes to Chelsea winning the game.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 15, 2022
Tuchel has clearly seen something he likes in the Belgian’s partnership with Christian Pulisic as he’s picked the pair again.
Pep Guardiola, despite issues with Covid absences and otherwise, has also gone with as strong an XI as possible, and it’s sure to make for an absorbing game.
Ruben Dias has been left on the bench, with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte tasked with helping to keep a clean sheet.
Your City XI to take on Chelsea! ?
XI | Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, De Bruyne (C), Bernardo, Sterling, Foden, Grealish
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 15, 2022
Elsewhere, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden will supply the bullets for a revitalised Raheem Sterling who’s likely to have too much pace for Thiago Silva, who is only just returning from his own Covid-enforced absence.
Let battle commence!