The biggest match of the Premier League season is here! Manchester City and Chelsea clash at Etihad Stadium in a match that could have title implications already, since we are in December and the schedule gets insane. Three points will put either team on top of the table, and a draw may keep Chelsea in first place if Liverpool can't win.
For City, this is a chance to prove — once again — that Pep Guardiola CAN WIN. He did for the first 10 games straight, then he didn't for a while and now he needs to make a statement. Chelsea are the hottest team in Europe at the moment, and their seven wins haven't been a fluke. They beat very strong opponents with a new formation and a manager who seems to make his players believe they're better than anybody else, but they're never arrogant and work their tails off for the benefit of the team.
Playing at home, City have the opportunity to show that Chelsea can be defeated, and Guardiola will face his "biggest threat" in England with a chance to prove who's the boss in the Premier League title race. It's impossible to describe just how fun these 90 minutes will be, regardless of the result.
But the result matters, and City really need it.
Date/Time: Saturday, November 3rd, 2016, 12:30pm BST (UK), 7:30am ET, 4:30am PT (US), 5:45pm IST (India)
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Referee: Anthony Taylor
TV listings: NBCSN (US), NBC UNIVERSO (US - Spanish), TSN1, TSN4, TSN5 (Canada), Sky Sports 1 (UK), Star Sports Select HD1 (India), elsewhere
Online streaming: NBC Sports Live (US), NBC UNIVERSO NOW, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (US - Spanish), TSN GO (Canada), Sky GO (UK), elsewhere
Man City: If you don't count Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph, which you really shouldn't anymore, there are NO INJURIES!!! Pep Guardiola has been lucky in that department, and in addition to a healthy squad, he's had full seven days of training for the first time all season. The week of training wasn't just used to prepare the team for Chelsea, since Pep usually needs just two days for that. The full week will help the players understand the details of the system that Pep hadn't yet been able to explain with so many games in a row.
Guardiola's system is so ridiculously complex that it takes time and training to get it across, and we should see a much better City side from the one that played an ugly match against Burnley with very little rest after an ugly match in Germany. Health, time to train, and a damn good coach. All the signs point to a very well prepared City on Saturday.
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kanté, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard. Fans around the Premier League already know Chelsea's formation after six straight starts for the same eleven players, and you can make it seven this weekend. This specific group of footballers has exceptional chemistry and they work hard for each other, and with Eden Hazard at the peak of his powers, it's a very scary team.
They'll defend well, they'll counter-attack with speed and purpose, and they'll work harder than physically possible for 90-plus minutes. That's the advantage of not playing in Europe or the EFL Cup at the moment, and Antonio Conte has full weeks of training since the start of the season. If one week is already huge for Guardiola, imagine what Conte can do with 15 of them. Well, you don't have to imagine. You can see it. Every weekend. And you'll see it again this weekend. They're so good. So good.
I honestly have no idea. This could either be a masterpiece by Pep on how to break Conte, or Chelsea are just impossible to beat anyway. I'll be positive: 2-1 City.