The last fixture in this jam-packed midweek Premier League schedule takes us to Stamford Bridge, where fourth placed Chelsea welcome second placed Manchester City.
Frank Lampard’s men returned to the footballing world with a spirited second-half comeback against Aston Villa at Villa Park, as Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud provided the goals in a 2-1 win.
As for City, well, they’re a team on a mission. A 3-0 thumping over a lacklustre Arsenal side was followed by a 5-0 thrashing of Sean Dyche’s Burnley, though that success came at a cost in the form of an injury to striker Sergio Aguero.
When Is Kick Off? Thursday 25 June
What Time Is Kick Off? 20:15 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Stamford Bridge
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport (UK), FuboTV (US)
Referee? Stuart Attwell
With games coming thick and fast, Lampard has suggested he will mix up his starting XI on Thursday night. Despite the Frenchman’s goal at the weekend, Giroud could be replaced by Tammy Abraham as Chelsea look towards a more pressing style of play.
N’Golo Kante will likely complete 90 minutes again and Reece James could earn a call-up, pushing Cesar Azpilicueta over to left back with Marcos Alonso dropping to the bench.
City will be without record goalscorer Aguero after he picked up a knee injury against Burnley – he will travel to Barcelona to see Guardiola’s preferred specialist. David Silva and Riyad Mahrez are the only players to start both games so far and could be rested in classic Pep fashion.
Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte are the big names who could return to the starting XI.
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga; James, Rudiger, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic; Mount, Abraham, Pulisic.
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Mendy; De Bruyne, Gundogan, Foden; B. Silva, Jesus, Sterling.
Apart from Chelsea’s comeback at Villa and City’s thrashings of Arsenal and Burnley, there isn’t much ‘recent’ form to speak of, though both sides will have been pleased with their pre-lockdown form.
Chelsea dumped Premier League leaders Liverpool out of the FA Cup and claimed league victories at home to Spurs and Everton. However, their last Champions League match saw Bayern Munich turn up to Stamford Bridge and take home a resounding 3-0 win.
For City, it was all looking good pre-lockdown. The Manchester derby defeat aside, the Citizens brushed Sheffield Wednesday aside in the FA Cup and got superb win at Real Madrid in Europe.
Here’s a look at how both clubs have fared in their past five games.
Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea (21/6)
Chelsea 4-0 Everton (8/3)
Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool (3/3)
Bournemouth 2-2 Chelsea (29/2)
Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich (25/2)
Manchester City 5-0 Burnley (22/6)
Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal (17/6)
Manchester United 2-0 Manchester City (8/3)
Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Manchester City (4/3)
Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City (1/3)
Both teams are heading into the game with morale-boosting victories but City are clear favourites. The dispatching of Arsenal and thumping of Burnley came despite a number of key players being rested.
Even with Chelsea’s fine form and prolific attack, it really is hard to look past City here. Expect Guardiola’s side to record another Premier League win.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-2 Manchester City