Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Manchester City vs Chelsea in the FA Cup Preview
Manchester City face Chelsea for the second time this week as both sides head north for a change of venue in the shape of the Etihad Stadium. The fixture takes place at 16:30 GMT on Sunday 8th, January and will be televised live on BBC One in the United Kingdom.
After a conflicting 90 minutes on Thursday night, in which City played below their best but also at their best in the second half, Pep Guardiola's tactically altered side claimed all three points against Chelsea.
Before Thursday's fixture, the Catalan insisted that he picked the 11 players the fans wanted to see on the pitch. I'm not sure any fans were calling for Joao Cancelo to start right wing, with Phil Foden isolated out on the left flank by himself.
Either way, I think Guardiola proved to us all, if it was ever in doubt, why he's the manager and not the fans, as his two double substitutes changed the game. As half-time subs, Manuel Akanji and Rico Lewis turned the game in City's favour, with Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez coming on at the hour mark to combine for the winning goal three minutes later.
Are any fans brave enough to pick the starting XI over Guardiola for this fixture?
With a never-ending run of tough fixtures, it's hard to predict who will be rested in which games. John Stones just put in arguably his best defensive display of the season, earning him the Man of the Match award on Thursday; whilst Nathan Ake played the full 90 minutes, and Manuel Akanji participated in the second half.
With Ruben Dias sidelined, and Guardiola confirming it will be a late fitness call for Aymeric Laporte, only Guardiola will know who is starting centre-halves will be.
Rico Lewis has been incredibly impressive since the season's restart, and after another great display, this time off the bench, will he be called upon again? Kyle Walker and Cancelo performed below their best midweek, but they will have to start getting consistent game time at some point, and what better second chance?
Julian Alvarez rejoined the squad this week after his World Cup triumph, which Guardiola tipped would happen well in advance. After failing to feature on Thursday, you would imagine he is set to make his first appearance for the club since the restart.
Will it be a front two, with him partnering Erling Haaland, which Guardiola has spoken about in weeks gone by, or will he be leading the frontline on his own?
Cole Palmer has yet to feature for City properly since the Carabao Cup tie against Liverpool. He made a brief cameo against Leeds United but nothing other than that. The more experienced youngster in Foden has been struggling for game time recently; can he notch back-to-back starts?
Ortega; Walker, Akanji, Ake, Cancelo; Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Foden; Palmer, Alvarez, Grealish
Chelsea have quite the injury list heading into Sunday's fixture, with two of their main attacking outlets having to be replaced due to injury on Thursday.
Former City player Raheem Sterling was replaced within the first five minutes of the game after a collision with Stones. Shortly afterwards, Christian Pulisic also made way due to a knock.
Both players are currently being assessed, whilst Chelsea are running a late fitness test on Mason Mount to see if he is available for the FA Cup third-round tie. The England international missed the previous meeting through injury.
New signings Gabriel Slonina (goalkeeper), striker David Datro Fofana (striker) and defender Benoit Badiashile (defender) could feature for Chelsea in what will provide a welcomed boost for Graham Potter's injury-hit side.
The Londoners are struggling this season as they currently sit in 10th, ten points outside the Champions League spots. Guardiola's side also knocked them out of the Carabao Cup ahead of the World Cup break.
Chelsea have only won three of their previous 11 fixtures, losing five of them.
Despite Chelsea having a slight advantage in the all-time record, since Guardiola joined the Blues in the summer of 2016, the Catalan has led City to 11 wins over the London-based side, with the opposition returning the blow on seven occasions.
You would have to go back eight years to find the last game that ended on level terms, with two 1-1 draws occurring in the 14/15 season. The only exception is when the two sides met in the 18/19 Carabao Cup final, and the game technically ended as a 0-0 draw, but City were crowned the champions after winning the penalty shootout.
City's most recent victory over Chelsea on Thursday made it four wins in a row whilst not conceding a goal in any of those previous meetings. It also made history, with this being the first time the Citizens have defeated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge three consecutive times – all of which came against three different managers.
Referee: Robert Jones
Assistants: Ian Hussin & Darren Cann
Fourth Official: Darren England
VAR: John Brooks
Assistant VAR: Adam Nunn