Although Chelsea have stayed hot all season and have been called champions elect by many, they are coming off a rare loss against Crystal Palace last Saturday. However, they haven’t lost two games in a row since September.
When these two powerhouses met in December, City played a fantastic first 60 minutes but could only score one goal, before Chelsea's counter-attacking machine scored three goals to come back and win at the Etihad.
Now, City face their toughest and most crucial match of the year, as the Sky Blues are in the heat of the Top-4 race. Although they have struggled against the best clubs in the league so far this season, teams who make the Champions League have to beat the best to play with the best. That’s what City have to do in London.
Here’s a few players who could lead City or Chelsea to three points on Wednesday.
Alonso’s role has been essential for Chelsea’s success with a back five all season, as his wing-back position is crucial in both attack and defense. While contributing to their leading number of clean sheets, Alonso has also recorded four goals and two assists.
Look for the Spaniard to bomb up and down the left wing looking to influence the play if the hosts are to win.
Although he remained somewhat untested against Arsenal (both of their goals were unstoppable), Caballero should receive plenty of attention against Chelsea’s attack. Even though the Blues lost to Crystal Palace, they peppered Wayne Hennessey with 24 shots, 11 of them on target.
Chelsea’s attack is nearly unstoppable, and their speed and composure helps them around the box. Willy Caballero must be on the top of his game to prevent Diego Costa and company from scoring.
Speaking of the man, Diego Costa has been one of the Premier League’s best strikers once again this season. Unlike past years, he has moved past adversity relatively well, as he kept scoring goals even when critics kept mentioning his alleged fight with Antonio Conte over an offer from a Chinese club.
Even though he didn't score, Costa led Chelsea with 9 shots against Palace on the weekend. Now that he’s playing in a crucial match, look for Costa to be more clinical if he gets even close to the amount of shots he had last weekend.
Marcos Alonso and Diego Costa aren’t the only Spaniards on this list. Silva dominated the midfield at Arsenal, with 2 shots (one on target), 3 key passes and an assist to Sergio Aguero’s goal.
Although he usually doesn’t play on short rest, Silva’s presence on the pitch will be vital to City’s success against Chelsea. Look for Silva to boss the midfield again if City are to win this match.