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Manchester City at Chelsea, Premier League: Players to Watch

Four players to keep an eye on at Stamford Bridge

Stoke City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Manchester City return to Premier League action this Saturday with the most anticipated match of this early season, at Stamford Bridge against reigning champions Chelsea.

This is a huge match for Pep Guardiola and his men. Antonio Conte’s Blues dominated the league last season and steamrolled past City in their two meetings, so a win this weekend or even a quality draw will prove that City have what it takes to truly compete in the title race.

There are many players on both sides who could have a big impact on Saturday’s result. We highlight four of them below.

Álvaro Morata

The Spanish striker was brought in by Antonio Conte to replace the departing Diego Costa, and many Chelsea fans were skeptical about Morata’s signing. After just a month and a half of brilliant performances, Morata has made himself a cult hero at Stamford Bridge.

With seven goals in his first seven appearances, Morata has clearly settled into the team and the champions look as good as they did when Costa was their focal point. The former Real Madrid and Juventus man can score all types of goals: with his right foot, his left foot and especially his head, and he’ll be a major aerial threat that can cause plenty of problems to the City defense.

Gabriel Jesus

With the freak injury to Sergio Agüero because of a car accident, the Brazilian will be the focal point of the attack for the next few matches. Jesus was frustrated after the Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk and complained to Brazilian media that he was not getting as many chances as he wanted in the striker position, so thanks to the crazy circumstances of Agüero’s injury Jesus gets to play where he wants.

We all love Gabriel and he’s made a fantastic start with five goals in eight appearances in all competitions, and with his incredible work rate he’ll constantly worry the Chelsea defense with his ability to make runs in behind and create chances for himself and others.

Tiémoué Bakayoko

The Frenchman was another controversial summer signing that came in to replace a key member of Chelsea’s title run. Nemanja Matic was critical to Antonio Conte’s system with his ability to control the pace of the game and shield the back three, and his leadership was also very important to a team that dominated the league last season.

After missing the first few matches of the season with an injury, Bakayoko has settled into the system very well and is already a critical part of the side thanks to his physical presence. Bakayoko and N’Golo Kanté work perfectly together in the Chelsea midfield, and his ability to mark David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne on Saturday will be crucial to Chelsea’s chances.

Danilo Luiz

The Brazilian is set to become an even more important piece of the squad with the long-term absence of Benjamin Mendy and the injury problems to Vincent Kompany in this early season. Danilo’s versatility allows him to play well at right-back, center-back and left-back, and Pep Guardiola will no doubt start him in one of those positions at the Bridge.

Danilo is yet to provide an assist this season, but his main job is not to support the attack. It seems like Guardiola wants to use him as a Swiss Army Knife at the back, and if he’s able to do his defensive job well the attackers will have more freedom to impact the play higher up the pitch. If Danilo starts and City get a win, there’s no doubt he’ll play an important role, even if you don’t notice it.