First Guardiola – Conte showdown is one for the soccer purists
Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte will meet for the first time in their managerial careers when Manchester City host Chelsea in Saturday’s early kick-off at the Etihad.
Chelsea have recorded 7 straight victories to shoot to the top of the table but they were distinctly second best when these two side met in the league last season, losing both games by 3 goals to nil.
Team news & predicted starting line-ups for Man City v Chelsea
It will be fascinating to see what sort of system Guardiola goes with, in his attempt to outwit the Blues’ Italian manager. City have used 5 different systems already this season, a big contrast to Chelsea, with Conte sticking religiously to his 3-4-3 preference during this winning sequence.
The former Azzurri coach is expected to keep changes to the minimum here.
Man City fantasy player to watch
This looks the perfect opportunity for Kevin De Bruyne to show just how good he is. The Belgian midfielder has been going quietly about his business so far this season but he has still scored twice, while registering 7 assists in the process.
He did record a WhoScored rating of 10 in the 4-0 win over Bournemouth earlier in the season, so now would be the perfect time to replicate that form.
Man City team news
Vincent Kompany has been ruled out with a knee ligament injury, joining Fabian Delph on the sidelines.
England international Raheem Sterling has trained, after picking up a knock in the 2-1 win over Burnley at Turf Moor last weekend and is expected to feature.
Guardiola may go with a variation of the adventurous 4-1-4-1 formation that he used, in the 3-1 victory City secured over his former club Barcelona, in this season’s Champions League clash at the Etihad.
Predicted starting line-up for Man City
Chelsea fantasy player to watch
Sergio Agüero scored 4 times in those two meetings last season, hitting a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge, so this will be a huge test for David Luiz.
The battle between the Blues’ Brazilian defender and City’s Argentinian strker could be pivotal to the outcome of the contest.
Chelsea team news
John Terry is ruled out with a muscle injury, while this game is likely to come too soon for John Obi Mikel, Kurt Zouma and Marco van Ginkel.
Diego Costa is still one match away from a domestic suspension after accumulating 4 cautions already.
Predicted starting line-up for Chelsea
Can Pep Guardiola get the better of Antonio Conte or will these 2 managerial heavyweights cancel each other out?