Manchester City are coming off the heels of a hard fought 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Sunday, and it's right back to business as City travel to London once again this time to take on Premier League leaders Chelsea.
The title is probably out of sight for everyone except maybe Tottenham Hotspur at this point in the season, but City can still help themselves remain in the top four and gain some much needed momentum for the home stretch of the season.
The bad news for City is right-back Bacary Sagna will be out for at least two or three weeks and Pablo Zabaleta is being labeled as “okay”. This meant Jesús Navas deputized at right-back against Arsenal and Aléxis Sánchez, and he may have to do it once again facing Chelsea and Eden Hazard. In better news, Gabriel Jesus is back on the practice pitch doing light workouts, so the Brazilian may yet make it back before the season ends.
Raheem Sterling was pulled at halftime of the Arsenal game and was said to be dealing with a back issue suffered on international duty with England. Perhaps substituting the young Englishman was done with the Chelsea game in mind, but if Sterling cannot start City might have a selection issue in one of their forward spots.
Below are the eleven players we believe Pep Guardiola will select in his starting lineup against Chelsea.
Goalkeeper: Willy Caballero
One of the biggest surprises and letdowns of the season has been the play of Claudio Bravo. The Chilean was meant to help City reach new heights, instead he has lost his job to Caballero and City seem resigned to signing a new keeper in the summer.
Defense: Pablo Zabaleta, John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi, Gaël Clichy
Zabaleta being "only okay" is concerning but City need an organizer on defense and the Argentine veteran can certainly provide that. City don’t have many other options across the back four, and while Aleksandar Kolarov is always an option to start, his lack of pace could be exploited by Chelsea's quick forwards, so we expect him to be on the bench.
Midfield: Fernandinho, Yaya Touré, David Silva
The easiest selection in the whole squad is David Silva. The Spanish Magician has been City’s best player for well over a month now and is showing no signs of slowing down. Touré and Fernandinho represent a more defensive midfield selection, and they'll have to be very good with and without the ball to deal with Cesc Fàbregas and N'Golo Kanté.
Forwards: Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Agüero, Leroy Sané
Raheem Sterling will at least make the bench, but if the Englishman can't start then Pep will move De Bruyne further forward on the right wing and play a more defensive midfield. Sané and Agüero are obvious starters given the few minutes played by Nolito and Kelechi Iheanacho in recent times.