Chelsea’s Brazilian defender David Luiz (C) vies with Manchester City’s Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on December 3, 2016. Paul ELLIS / AFP
For club football fans, the often-frustrating international break comes up after this weekend’s round of matches, which means that there will be no club football next weekend, a scenario some fans are already dreading. However, it seems the gods of football have decided to compensate the fans for the break by serving up two very tantalizing fixtures this weekend in Europe. On paper, these games should be able to create exciting memories that will keep fans reminiscing till club football resumes in two weeks, and in reality, I believe that they will live up to the hype. The games will be taking place in two iconic European cities of London and Milan and I will be giving you guys an insight on what we should be expecting from these games.
Chelsea vs. Manchester City
Pep Guardiola will take his impressive and in-form Manchester City team to Stamford Bridge, the home of the reigning league Champions – Chelsea, with the aim of achieving what he has never done in his coaching career: defeat a team managed by Antonio Conte. The pair came face-to-face, for the first time in their coaching careers, last December at the Etihad stadium, and Conte’s team defeated their hosts 3-1 and took all three points available with them back to Stamford Bridge. Their second clash was in April this year at the bridge and once again Conte’s Chelsea won that game by two goals to one, which meant that the Italian did the double over the Catalan and put their head-to-head meeting at 2-nil in his favour.
That is something Guardiola would want to change this weekend and he will be encouraged by the current form of his team, who are on a run of seven consecutive wins in all competitions. However, Antonio Conte’s team are also beginning to gel and have won seven of their last eight matches in all competition, which included a very impressive win away to Atletico Madrid in the European Champions League midweek. The Blues were unable to break down a resolute Arsenal side at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago and Guardiola could copy a leaf from the playbook Arsenal used on that day to try and contain the home team this time around, while relying on a devastating attack team, to break down the home team’s defence.
The away team have been very impressive with their forward, thanks to exciting attacking talents, but that attack will be blunted a bit by the absence of Sergio Aguero, who was involved in a car crash in Amsterdam in the early hours of Friday morning on his way to the airport, after attending a concert. He suffered fractured ribs which will keep him out of action for a while. The likes of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane, who have all combined for twelve league goals already this season, will have to step up in the absence of the Argentine. Benjamin Mendy also faces a long spell on the sidelines with a knee injury and should be replaced at left-back by either Danilo or Fabian Delph. David Luiz is still suspended for the hosts, with Andreas Christensen, who had a great game against Stoke City last weekend, set to continue deputizing at the back. Both teams are in terrific form and we should expect a great encounter and at least a couple of goals from this fixture.