Chelsea will host premier league champions Manchester City on Sunday in the final match of the game week before the last international window of 2023. Pep Guardiola’s side has been an unbreakable opponent for the Blues since the 2021 UEFA Champions League final victory. They have won all six matches while scoring 10 in return for none.
The fixture will be yet another learning opportunity for Mauricio Pochettino’s men. Confidence will be high after last week’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur. Here are three things to look out for from it.
Manchester City academy graduate was Chelsea’s final summer signing. Palmer will be facing his childhood club for the first time on Sunday. He has already played more minutes in the premier league in three months for the Blues than his former side for three seasons.
The English U21 stalwart is arguably Chelsea’s standout player of the season till now. He also opened his premier league account against Burnley with his new club last month. Palmer should be determined to show the world what City has missed out on.
The stakes of the match will not be a concern for the young Englishman. He has already played in big matches for CFC after starring for England in their 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship final.
Teams fielding a low block in defence is an issue for Chelsea, as seen in the matches they failed to win. Like Tottenham Hotspur last week, Guardiola’s side will also be a team that does not sit back when the opposition has the ball. But Sunday will be an entirely new test for the Stamford Bridge side.
Man City will not leave space for the opposition to run into. At the same time, they will make life strenuous for players to receive and give passes. They will provide Chelsea with a test they have not faced yet under Pochettino.
Sitting back against the champions should not be an option for the home team. It will take the energy out of the crowd. Such an attempt will hand things to Guardiola’s side. It will be interesting to see what tweaks Pochettino will make to his side to contain the opponent.
Enzo Fernandez was taken off against Tottenham after he struggled due to Christian Romero’s tackle, which saw him get red. Nevertheless, he shrugged off concerns with an Instagram post, much to the delight of fans.
The rest of the starting 11 from last week should start for Chelsea this Sunday. The only change could be at left-back. Starting Levi Colwill there backfired very quickly as Tottenham scored after a heavy deflection off him. A proper fullback would have been near the line as opposed to the center while trying to block him off from making the run inside.
Pochettino should allow players to start in their preferred position. The Citizens are so good that such experiments could bite the west London outfit severely. As long as they don’t make things complicated, the Blues will always have a chance.