Another big game, another big win for City
Man City and Chelsea meet in a rehearsal for the Carabao Cup final in two weeks but this titanic clash is arguably more important with both in need of Premier League points.
Will the real Chelsea please stand up?
Chelsea are one of only a few sides that can claim to have got the better of quadruple chasing City this term. However, since inflicting a first defeat of the season on Guardiola's men back in December, trying to predict which Chelsea will show up has been a tough one to call.
Motivation, or the distinct lack of it, has played a part in the Blues turning in some rotten performances - away defeats at Spurs, Arsenal and most recently a thumping at mid-table Bournemouth all spring to mind.
This group has been blowing hot and cold for some time now leaving the manager, along with the rest of us, pondering which Chelsea will turn up - your guess is as good as mine!
Sometimes, a defeat can have a positive effect and I’m of the view Newcastle’s win over City at the end of January is one such example.
Pep’s side were on a run of eight straight wins in all competitions but opposition consisting of Rotherham, Burton Albion, Huddersfield and Burnley resulted in City coasting to handsome victories without so much as breaking a sweat.
A hint of complacency crept into their game at St James’ Park with a lacklustre showing handing the initiative to Liverpool in the race for the title.
Since though City appear to have used the defeat as a stark reminder of how they cannot afford to take their foot off the gas for one moment. Subsequent wins against Arsenal and Everton, and more to the point, the commanding nature of the victories has allowed the Citizens to reassert themselves at the summit as well as lay down the gauntlet to Liverpool.
The man for the big occasion
The embarrassment of riches available to Pep Guardiola results in the Spaniard making some tough calls on a weekly basis. But you can bet your bottom dollar, Sergio Aguero will be one of the first names on the teamsheet come Sunday afternoon.
The Argentine, for some the greatest Premier League striker of them all, is the man for the big occasion as his record against the rest of the ‘big six’ demonstrates.
A total of 40 goals in 62 games against City’s closest rivals goes to show how Aguero relishes the big game environment. On a run of six goals in five games, including a real poacher’s hattrick against Arsenal last weekend, City’s number 10 looks destined to pose more than a few questions of Chelsea and their questionable backline.
This match represents City’s toughest assignment since Liverpool visited the Etihad at the start of January.
Yet, you just get the feeling City are starting to turn the screw in the title race with Klopp's side stuttering and surrendering a sizeable lead.
Depending if they decide to show up or not, Chelsea should play their part in an entertaining clash to watch over your Sunday roast. But I’m not expecting them to trouble the hosts in terms of the points.
Nick’s tip: How about a City win and both teams to score combo which serves up chunky odds of 2/1 (3.00) with Betway!