“Having seen plenty of City since life reemerged, it has been interesting to see what approach works best,” writes Ian Copestake. “Roll up in a ball and rock back and forth, or stand behind a wall and say you are gonna get your mates on them? I am hoping at least Chelsea will already have some of their mates to hand and be standing in front of the wall looking nawty.”
You’re excited about Liverpool winning the title, then.
Pre-match reading and listening
The in-form Phil Foden has picked up an injury and is not in the City squad. There are a lot of right-sided players in their starting XI. We’ve listed it as the typical 4-1-2-3 but I have a hunch Pep Guardiola will play with De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva as false nines, a tactic that worked so well at Old Trafford and the Bernabeu earlier in the year.
Chelsea (4-3-3) Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso; Barkley, Kante, Mount; Willian, Giroud, Pulisic.
Substitutes: Caballero, Zouma, James, Gilmour, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Pedro, Abraham.
Manchester City (4-1-2-3) Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri; De Bruyne, Gundogan; Mahrez, Sterling, B Silva.
Substitutes: Carson, Harwood-Bells, Zinchenko, Otamendi, D Silva, Doyle, Palmer, Jesus, Sane.
Referee Stuart Attwell.
Hello. Chelsea and Manchester City have been the champions in five of the last six Premier League seasons, and tonight they are involved in another potential title decider. But it has the square root of bugger all to do with them. This is all about Liverpool, who will become champions of England for the first time since 1990 should City fail to win at Stamford Bridge.
City are going to finish second in the league whatever happens, and have a theoretically more important game at Newcastle in the FA Cup on Sunday. But they would love to land the first punch of the 2020-21 title race by delaying Liverpool’s coronation tonight and then beating them at the Etihad next week.
Chelsea need cold, hard league points rather than statements of intent. They still don’t know whether they must finish fourth or fifth to qualify for the Champions League. Either way, they are only two points ahead of Manchester United and Wolves in fifth and sixth, and this is the start a tough run-in.
Six of Chelsea’s last nine games are against teams in the top ten, most of them away from home. Even so, they’d probably be happy with a draw tonight. They’re not the only ones.
Kick off 8.15pm.