Manchester City host Chelsea on Sunday hoping to continue their resurgence in the title race. Pep Guardiola’s side will be aiming to take all three points from Maurizio Sarri’s men and thus get revenge for the defeat they suffered at the hands of the Blues in December – their first loss of the season.
Since, the City machine has had some faults and become uncharacteristically clunky, dropping points against Crystal Palace and Newcastle. 3-1 and 2-0 wins against Arsenal and Everton respectively, though, have put the Etihad Stadium outfit back on course.
What would happen if they lose once again, though, this time at the hands of the west Londoners?
Having won the competition last season, City will be looking to defend their Carabao Cup title later this month, with Chelsea the challengers at Wembley.
City have strolled through the cup so far and booked their spot in the final with a 10-0 aggregate win over Burton, but they may be in for a shock in the final, considering the standard of teams they have faced en route to it.
Having inflicted the champions’ first defeat of the season in December, Chelsea will undoubtedly fancy themselves going into this weekend’s clash.
Guardiola’s side will surely feel that this is a must-win, not only because of the need to keep pace with title rivals Liverpool, but also because if Chelsea sink City once again, the Blues will have a huge psychological advantage going into the final on 24th February. Quadruple down the drain?
Wednesday’s win over Everton put City level on points with the Reds, whose poor run of results saw them drop seven points from five games and thus surrender the seven-point lead they had taken at Christmas.
City have clicked into gear again just at the right time and have bounced back from their 2-1 loss to the Magpies in January, winning their last two comfortably.
However, Chelsea will knock City back down just as they’ve got up if they upset the champions again and that could mean they take longer to get back to their best this time around – perhaps dropping more points in March if they have a rough ride through the cup and Champions League fixtures coming up this month.
With the visit to Schalke in the Champions League to come this month, a loss to Chelsea in the league might force a switch of focus at the Etihad Stadium, instead concentrating on the European competition.
The Spaniard will be keen to improve on his side’s performance in the Champions League last season – they were knocked out by Liverpool in the quarter-final – and may elect to ensure they reach the further stages this campaign, sacrificing some more ground in the title race in doing so.
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