Frustration overtook Manchester City when Chelsea visited the Etihad earlier this season. After a major altercation and a bad defeat in front of their home supporters, City have developed a more mature approach to difficult situations.
A win at Stamford Bridge would do a lot to boost the morale of the club.
Here are three things to watch:
1 - Finishing Quality
Pep Guardiola’s insistence that the first game against Chelsea (and many others this season) would have turned out differently if one of many attempts on net had been successful should be taken as a sign that City can beat the league leaders.
It will be interesting to see how Guardiola motivates his squad to remedy their season-long issue of hitting the post or missing the last touch.
While the talent of his squad is undeniable, Pep has had to lament the outcome of too many fixtures in this campaign. Solving the problem of being ‘unlucky’ while ensuring that their own goal is safe will make for a steep challenge on Wednesday.
2 - Counter-Attacks
As City focus on scoring, they have to remain aware of the ever-present threats posed by Chelsea’s lightning-fast counter-attacking capabilities.
Antonio Conte’s tactics have given Chelsea great flexibility to defend and attack in numbers. They are built to absorb pressure from a team like City, if necessary, but they can also play with a superb, creative possession-based approach if City can’t hold on to the ball.
Of course, a trident of sharp-shooters will be ready to turn on a dime to challenge City’s net whenever possible.
If the Sky Blues can remain poised enough to halt midfield transitions and avoid one-on-one encounters in front of their net, their chances of deflating Chelsea’s title chances will be much brighter.
3 - Play the Full 90 Minutes
The match against Arsenal proved that City will suffer from even the slightest lapse in mentality and determination. Although their brand of possession is stellar, they have often been unable to balance various responsibilities and have often been unsettled despite a majority of possession and more shots on target.
Slowing down Chelsea’s transitions, finding a groove with passes and finding an opening will be City’s task until the final whistle. Even if they are able to gain a lead, the zeal to play in an ideal manner for the majority of the game will show how far City can go this season.
The game-by-game title chase hype of world football media can be tiring. However, the implications of this match are very clear. With Chelsea’s loss to Crystal Palace over the weekend, there is a glimmer of hope for challengers. City will be keen to make another dent in Chelsea's record and put on a late title race of themselves.