How Man City should line up vs Chelsea in Premier League fixture – Simon Bajkowski

It&aposs been a good week for City after they decimated Bournemouth 6-1 last weekend before picking up a 3-0 win over Young Boys in the Champions League. That victory means Pep Guardiola&aposs side has secured qualification for the knock-out stages with a game to spare.

However, it wasn&apost a perfect night as John Stones picked up a muscle injury that is set to rule him out for at least a few weeks. The injury isn&apost as bad as first feared but no timetable has been put on his return like Kevin De Bruyne.

Manuel Akanji did train on Tuesday and is fit to play and there are no other injury concerns.

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The two big selection issues for this game revolve around John Stones and Jeremy Doku, and one probably influences the other. Had Stones been fit, there would probably be enough license to start Doku but his injury means that a little more caution is likely required to fill the void and Doku is likely the man to lose out.

Manu Akanji feels like the best bet to take on the role of stepping forward out of defence, given he has done it the most after Stones and so is most comfortable there. Bringing Bernardo Silva back into the team will also allow him to help out as he takes up his role floating everywhere on the pitch.

Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez have to start given their form this season and Erling Haaland&aposs two goals in midweek means he is an automatic pick up front. Doku tore Bournemouth apart at the weekend but it was another strong performance from Jack Grealish in midweek and he so impressed away at Old Trafford that it is hard to think Pep Guardiola will change his thinking for another big away game.

Guardiola will surely go for control over flair on Sunday, despite Chelsea&aposs weaknesses. He has always treated Chelsea with plenty of respect, especially at Stamford Bridge, so I can see him turn to his &aposcontrol&apos team rather than look at the likes of Jeremy Doku in attack.

Manu Akanji, if fit, can partner Ruben Dias, and Kyle Walker can return to the team. Bernardo Silva and Rodri in midfield provides plenty of battle and control, while Phil Foden can come inside to assist Julian Alvarez if Kyle Walker gets forward – or he can produce on of his trademark right-wing performances like at United.

The main dilemma will be to go with the direct pace and skill of Jeremy Doku or the control and calm of Jack Grealish. With Grealish having the big-game experience, he may edge it (and Guardiola said he had trained particularly well this week). Doku off the bench is as strong a weapon as any team in the league have in the second half.