Manchester City will have to face Chelsea without Ivorian duo Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony after the pair helped the Ivory Coast advance to the knock-out stages of the African Cup of Nations, Mirror reports.
The club were said to have had a private plane on standby if The Elephants didn’t qualify from their group. But a 1-0 victory against Cameroon ensured they topped their group on top and they are now set to remain in the competition until at least early February. City have suffered heavily without the services of Toure, failing to win all three of their matches in which he hasn’t featured.
They drew against Everton 1-1, lost against league rivals Arsenal 2-0 and, most recently, they were knocked out of the FA Cup fourth round by Championship side Middlesbrough last weekend.
Manuel Pellegrini will now have a tough task without the services of his star midfielder this weekend as his side travel to Stamford Bridge to try and close the gap at the top of the table.
A win for Jose Mourinho’s side would extend Chelsea’s lead at the top of the league to eight points, which would be a major blow to Man City’s hopes of successfully defending their Premier League crown.