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Preview: Manchester City vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Chelsea, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

In a dress rehearsal for the upcoming all-English Champions League final, Manchester City host Chelsea in Saturday's Premier League showdown at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's men booked their tickets to Istanbul with a 4-1 aggregate victory over last year's runners-up Paris Saint-Germain, while Chelsea beat Real Madrid 3-1 over two legs to set up a European battle with their counterparts.

A win here for City would also confirm their status as Premier League champions, while Chelsea are still embroiled in a fight for a top-four finish.

Match preview

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez scores their second goal against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on May 4, 2021© Reuters

With an injured Kylian Mbappe helplessly watching on from the bench and Neymar nullified by an impenetrable City rearguard, the stage was set for Guardiola's attackers to steal the show in the second leg against PSG, and they did so with aplomb.

One week after his match-winning free kick somehow crept through the wall to hand City a 2-1 first-leg triumph, Riyad Mahrez was on hand to tuck home at the back stick with 11 minutes on the clock, and PSG's attacks were futile against a City rearguard marshalled by the unwavering Ruben Dias and John Stones.

With 63 minutes on the clock, a fast City break ended with Phil Foden once again picking out Mahrez at the far post, and the Algerian attacker coolly slotted home to send the Manchester giants into the Champions League final that they have been dreaming of for the past decade.

Guardiola has never been able to hack it on the European stage since swapping the Allianz Arena for the Etihad Stadium, and the charismatic Catalan may now just be 90 minutes away from writing his name into another page of City's ever-growing history books, but the domestic crown is the only one in their sights this weekend.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring their first goal against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on May 1, 2021© Reuters

City gave themselves the best chance of being crowned champions last weekend with a straightforward 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace - during which Sergio Aguero netted only his second Premier League goal of the season - but Manchester United's game with Liverpool being postponed prevented Guardiola's side from planning their trophy parade.

However, with 80 points collected from 34 matches and a 13-point chasm separating them from closest challengers Man United - who now have a game in hand - City's fifth Premier League title will be wrapped up this weekend should they come up trumps against Chelsea, although the league has more or less been a foregone conclusion since January.

The Citizens welcome Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium on a five-game winning streak across all competitions and boasting back-to-back clean sheets against Palace and PSG, but it is at home where the banana skins have presented themselves for Guardiola's side, who have lost to Man United and Leeds United at the Etihad since the start of March.

With 71 goals scored unsurprisingly a league high and 24 shipped at the other end by far the fewest in the league, City's talent in all areas of the pitch could propel them to a domestic and European treble come the end of May, but hopes of an unprecedented quadruple were dashed by none other than Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals.

City need not panic if their status as champions is not confirmed this weekend, but they welcome Chelsea to their headquarters on a 14-game unbeaten run against sides from London, and Saturday's game is the perfect opportunity for both teams to scope out their opponents ahead of the Champions League final.

Chelsea's Timo Werner celebrates scoring against Real Madrid in the Champions League on May 5, 2021© Reuters

Twenty-four hours after witnessing City put PSG to the sword, Chelsea produced an equally dominant performance to send serial winners Real Madrid packing, as Thomas Tuchel masterminded a 2-0 second-leg victory over Champions League expert Zinedine Zidane in West London.

Aiming to build on a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Chelsea drew first blood through a chance that Timo Werner and his alarming catalogue of wasted chances could not possibly miss, with the German striker on hand to head home after Kai Havertz's audacious chip struck the woodwork.

After a wave of fruitless attacks, the irrepressible Mason Mount sealed the Blues' place in the final on the 85-minute mark, as the young Englishman crashed in a second following some bright attacking play from substitute Christian Pulisic to set up a mouth-watering encounter with City.

Frank Lampard's sacking over the winter period was met with surprise and condemnation, but Tuchel has taken no time whatsoever to settle into life in the English capital, and the former PSG boss will endeavour to go one better in the Champions League this time around after losing last season's final to Bayern.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel pictured on April 10, 2021© Reuters

The Blues are some way off their Istanbul opponents in the Premier League table, though, as Tuchel still has work to do if he is to confirm Chelsea's top-four status and a route into next season's Champions League should their efforts in Turkey prove unsuccessful.

Havertz's well-taken brace saw Chelsea stroll to a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened rivals Fulham last time out in the Premier League, and their previous victory over West Ham United has seen them open up a three-point gap over the fifth-placed Hammers, and third-placed Leicester City are also within touching distance before they face Newcastle United.

Last week's stalemate in Madrid extended Tuchel's unbeaten away record to 11 matches in all competitions since replacing club legend Lampard at the helm, and Chelsea have conceded a mere four goals on their travels in that time - three of them in the Premier League.

Out of the 15 Premier League games that Tuchel has managed, his Chelsea side have kept clean sheets in 11 of them - including each of their last three - and the Blues could now register three consecutive wins with clean sheets for the first time since November 2017.

Chelsea and City prepare to renew hostilities just three weeks after their closely-fought affair in the FA Cup semi-finals, and with only three weeks to go until the European finalists do battle in Istanbul, Saturday's game may provide the answers to several questions before the continental crown takes precedence.

Manchester City Premier League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Manchester City form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Chelsea Premier League form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Chelsea form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

Manchester City's Ruben Dias and John Stones celebrate after the match on May 4, 2021© Reuters

City defender John Stones serves the third and final game of his three-match suspension after seeing red against Aston Villa, while his fellow centre-back Eric Garcia has come down with a bout of illness, meaning the Spaniard may have played his last game for the club with Barcelona knocking.

However, Guardiola has no fresh concerns for the visit of Chelsea, and Aymeric Laporte should once again deputise in defence alongside Dias, who put in one of the displays of the season against PSG.

Oleksandr Zinchenko - who was in tears at the full-time whistle in midweek - could be a victim of Pep rotation as Benjamin Mendy hopes to earn a recall, while Joao Cancelo could return for Kyle Walker on the opposite side.

Fernandinho impressed on his 36th birthday against PSG but is expected to make way for Rodri here, while Raheem Sterling will be desperate to earn a recall to the attack.

Guardiola's decision to line up without a recognised number nine once again worked wonders in the Champions League, but with his prolific record against Chelsea, soon-to-be free agent Aguero will hope to lead the attack.

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic was unable to turn out against his old employers Real Madrid after suffering a setback in his recovery from a thigh problem, and the Croatian midfielder is not expected to be ready in time for this game.

As a result, Jorginho and N'Golo Kante should continue to man the engine room, as Mount features further forward alongside Pulisic, who was surprisingly named on the bench on Wednesday but should return here.

Cesar Azpilicueta put in a tireless shift on the right-hand side and should be given a rest as Reece James returns to the fold, while Marcos Alonso is a candidate to feature on the other side if Ben Chilwell earns a day off.

Tuchel must be careful not to overwork Thiago Silva and his 36-year-old legs, so Kurt Zouma is a candidate to feature in the visitors' back three alongside Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Zouma, Rudiger, Christensen; James, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz

Head To Head

Saturday's game represents the 168th meeting between Man City and Chelsea in all competitions, with the former boasting 59 wins compared to Chelsea's 69.

Not since January 2015 has a Premier League clash between City and Chelsea ended with the points shared, but the capital outfit have conceded nine and scored just one in their last three meetings to the Etihad - all of which ended in defeat.

City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne is aiming to score for the fourth Premier League game in a row against his old club, while Aguero has struck 15 goals in 21 games against Chelsea - only versus Newcastle does he have an equally prolific scoring record.

SM words green background

We say: Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea

Neither side will want to give too much away before the European prize is up for grabs, and having both come from gruelling midweek encounters, a low-scoring affair could be on the cards here.

City have not enjoyed a perfect run at an empty Etihad this season, while Chelsea are certainly benefitting from the home advantage phenomenon being wiped out in the absence of supporters, so we expect Tuchel's unbeaten away record to continue with a score draw against their Champions League final opponents.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:

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Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring against PSG on May 4, 2021
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States22251764
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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