Chelsea and Manchester City are among the most feared clubs in English football; and these two Premier League giants will do battle this Saturday evening in a mouth-watering top of the table clash.
Both sides are blessed with a plethora of talent, and here is a look at three key battles that could decide the outcome of this contest.
1. Eden Hazard vs Kyle Walker
Eden Hazard looks to be getting back to the form that saw him named PFA Player of the Year for the 2014/15 season, the Belgian international will be a key weapon for Chelsea if they are to inflict City’s first defeat this campaign.
Walker will be the man tasked with making Hazard as ineffective and unavailable as possible. The England international has plenty of experience in facing the former Lille man as the pair battled it out on numerous occasion when Walker was at Spurs.
If Kyle Walker can put in a performance that shows why Manchester thought he was worth paying £50m for, the Citizens will have achieved a great advantage in their quest for victory over Chelsea.
2. Tiémoué Bakayoko/N’Golo Kante vs David Silva/Kevin De Bruyne
Energetic midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko will be tasked with stifling Man City’s creative midfield duo Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. Silva and De Bruyne are the creative sparks in the Sky Blues’ team, normally picking the key passes to find City’s exceptional front-three.
However, Kante and Bakayoko excel at shielding their back three from the exact sort of passes and dribbles Silva and De Bruyne will be looking to pull off. The French midfielders come alive when the opposition have the ball and look to break down their attacks before they’ve got started.
Expect these four midfielders to be involved in one-to-one clashes against one another during Saturday’s Premier League match. And whether the Chelsea duo can successfully stop City’s creative pair from orchestrating attacks will be crucial to the outcome of this fixture.
3. Gabriel Jesus vs Thibaut Courtois
Following the news Manchester City talisman Sergio Aguero has been injured in a car accident in the last few days, Gabriel Jesus will be the Citizens’ only first-team natural striker. The Brazilian forward looked to be building a fantastic understanding with Aguero in recent weeks but on Saturday he will have to play without the Argentine.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will be faced with the challenge of keeping Jesus off the scoresheet. The Belgium number one has been in fine form this season, and another top-draw performance from Courtois could be the difference between Chelsea winning or losing the match.