Man City v Chelsea predictions: City can shine in open encounter
Blues set to suffer a knockout blow
Free football tips, best bets and analysis for Manchester City v Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday.
Where to watch
BT Sport 1, 12.30pm Saturday
Man City and both teams to score
1pt 13-5 Betfair
Seven unnamed players were affected by Manchester City's Covid outbreak and John Stones missed last Friday's 4-1 win at Swindon in the FA Cup third round through injury. Riyad Mahrez is on international duty and Pep Guardiola has spoken of 'new cases' in the camp.
Thiago Silva and N'Golo Kante came off the bench at Tottenham on Wednesday but Edouard Mendy is on international duty, Ben Chilwell is injured and Andreas Christensen has tested positive for Covid.
Relentless Manchester City have reeled off 11 successive Premier League victories since the end of October but this fixture has a do-or-die feel for second-placed Chelsea, who are ten points behind the leaders and in desperate need of a win.
Thomas Tuchel's men are unlikely to be satisfied with a draw and their thirst for three points could play into the hands of City, who are better suited to contesting an open, free-flowing encounter.
Chelsea had a difficult December, winning three of seven Premier League games, and were under pressure in the build-up to their early January fixture at home to Liverpool.
But that 2-2 draw was their best performance for some time and they followed it up with a convincing 3-0 aggregate success over Tottenham in the EFL Cup semi-final.
Romelu Lukaku was successfully reintegrated during the Spurs matches, playing every minute of the two-legged tie, and is likely to spearhead the Blues attack as they go in search of their most significant victory of the campaign.
Tuchel was at his nit-picking best in the post-match interview which followed the 1-0 success at Tottenham on Wednesday, but he knows even higher standards will need to be reached if his team are to succeed in Manchester.
The Blues were flying in the build-up to their September clash at home to City but they suffered a one-sided 1-0 defeat which gave the first inkling that a title challenge was likely to be beyond them.
City had started the season a little inconsistently – losing at Tottenham and drawing at home to Southampton among their opening five games.
However, they soon settled into their stride and were showing few signs of weakness until their New Year's Day trip to Arsenal, when they rode their luck to secure a 2-1 victory.
Pep Guardiola was far from happy with his team's performance at the Emirates and his preparations for last Friday's FA Cup third round tie at Swindon, won 4-1 by the Citizens, were affected by a Covid outbreak which involved seven players.
Eight days on from the Swindon game, it is unlikely that City will be ready to operate at full-throttle, but they have coped with everything that has been thrown at them in recent months and will probably pass another huge test this weekend.
Manchester City to win and both teams to score has been a winning wager in three of their last four fixtures.
Penalty taker Raheem Sterling/Kevin De Bruyne
Free-kick wizard Kevin De Bruyne
Set-piece aerial threat Ruben Dias
Card magnet Aymeric Laporte
Penalty taker Romelu Lukaku
Free-kick wizard Marcos Alonso
Set-piece aerial threat Romelu Lukaku
Card magnet Antonio Rudiger
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