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Chelsea vs. Manchester City, 2017 Premier League: Team News, Preview, Predictions

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The biggest match of the season is here. How will City manage the pressure?

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Manchester City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

We live in a world of football coverage that treats every game like the biggest ever, and every result is the most important result ever. We know it's not REALLY like that, but this Wednesday's Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester City is an actual big match.

The Blues of London are cruising to the title thanks to Antonio Conte's amazing debut season, but they lost to Crystal Palace last Saturday and we might have a late race for the league trophy if Tottenham Hotspur continue their hot streak and if City are able to manage a famous win at Stamford Bridge.

City's title chances before facing Chelsea could be bigger if they were able to beat Arsenal, so even a victory against the leaders may only consolidate City's top-four position rather than giving them a real shot at lifting the trophy at the end of May. But anything can happen if City inflict a painful loss to Chelsea, and Conte's men may doubt their champions elect status.

Pep Guardiola will urge his players to play as well as they have for most of the season, and score more goals than they have for most of the season. This is a really important match that gives City a chance to prove they have what it takes to beat the best, but they need to convert their chances and deal with Chelsea's counter-attacking prowess.

This is a GIANT game, and City could get a GIANT victory. Can they do it?


Date/Time: Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 8pm BST (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12:30am IST (India, Thursday)

Venue: Stamford Bridge, London, England

Referee: Mike Dean

Television: BT Sport 1 (UK), NBCSN (USA), SuperSport 3 (Nigeria), Star Sports Select HD2 (India), Sportsnet World (Canada), elsewhere

Online streaming: BT Sport Live Streaming (UK), NBC Sports Live (USA), fuboTV (USA, 7-day free trial + monthly subscription, click here to sign up), elsewhere

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)


TEAM NEWS

Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan are making progress in their recovery from injury, especially the Brazilian, but neither are available again. Bacary Sagna may miss a few more games with a muscular issue, so Pep might revert to Jesús Navas at right-back again. It worked wonders against Alexis Sánchez, so Guardiola may be confident in Navas' ability to stop or at least contain Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso.

Going forward, it's interesting to see if Pep opts for more control of possession with Fernandinho and Yaya Touré in midfield, or if he tries to attack Chelsea's back three with the lightning-quick trio of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sané and Sergio Agüero.

Guardiola actually matched Conte's 3-4-3 in their first meeting this season and it worked well despite the 3-1 loss at the end. Pep's tactical selection will be key: if he gets it just right, combined with the talent of his players, he might get out of the Bridge with a big result.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Pedro, Kanté, Matic, Fábregas, Alonso; Hazard, Costa

Man City: Caballero; Navas, Stones, Kolarov, Clichy; Fernandinho, Touré; De Bruyne, Silva, Sané; Agüero


PREDICTION

You know what? I'll go crazy here and predict a City win. I do it for every game, I know, but predicting a win at Stamford Bridge? 2-1 for Pep's boys.