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.
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.
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.
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.
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.