After dispatching Tottenham Hotspur on Monday, Mauricio Pochettino will aim to launch yet another upset as Chelsea host Premier League champions Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in a blockbuster battle of the bridge cracker.
Mauricio Pochettino’s return to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday ended in an extraordinary 4-1 win, while the Citizens sealed a last-16 Champions League berth by putting three goals past Young Boys without reply in midweek.
Pochettino’s side have had an extremely mixed campaign and are currently 10th in the Premier League with 15 points, but will be full of confidence after recording a big win at Tottenham.
Chelsea have shown signs of improvement, winning five of their last seven in all competitions as Pochettino begins to mould his expensively assembled squad into a winning one.
The west London side have not beaten the Citizens since the Champions League final in 2021 and will hope to earn three points in today’s Battle of Bridge cracker.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference, Blues manager Pochettino said his team is ready for the challenge and vows to upset the defending champions.
“For me, it is the best team, the best coaching staff, the best manager. It is the best or one of the best organisations in the world,” the Argentine coach said.
“It’s going to be a challenge, we want to compete against them, I think we are going to try and compete our best, and what we want is three points, they are important for us.”
Pep Guardiola in his pre-match press conference said Chelsea have not been at their best in the last 12 months, but they still pose a very big threat to teams.
“Chelsea remain one of the most important clubs,” Guardiola said in a pre-match press conference.
“They won the Champions League under Tuchel against us. It’s true they were not close to winning the Premier League in these seasons, but they are one of the strongest teams no doubt.
“They are aggressive and have good patterns. One of the toughest games we have this season.
“We have tried to maintain the level of our game but sooner or later Chelsea will be there fighting for titles. No doubt about that.”
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson who predicted Chelsea’s win over Tottenham said the Blues would likely stage another upset at Stamford Bridge.
“If Chelsea get a draw that’s a good result,” said Merson. “But it’s not a free hit. Playing in front of 38,000 at Stamford Bridge against the best team in the world, Chelsea fans turn up to win, not to make sure their team doesn’t get beaten by two or three.
“When you play for big football clubs you’re expected to go out and win or give it a go. Chelsea win trophies.
“Tottenham were going to have a go at Chelsea and that’s why I was bullish about them being able to get something. That plays into Chelsea’s hands. Man City will be the same. Chelsea will cause them problems, no doubt about it, but Man City will cause major problems at the same time.
“It’s a game Man City know they have to play well to win.”
Since losing their attacking bite against Arsenal, City have netted 17 goals across five consecutive wins, but their only points dropped in the top flight this season have come on the road, where they also have just five Premier League clean sheets to boast in 2023.
Since Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea overcame City in the 2021 Champions League final.
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Guardiola has lost eight matches against Chelsea, the joint most of his managerial career alongside Liverpool.
City have lost three of their last six away games in all competitions, but are on a 23-match winning streak at home.
Citizens are aiming to keep consecutive away clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since a run of five from February to April 2022.
Chelsea have lost their last six against City in all competitions without scoring.
Chelsea have only won one of their six home games in the Premier League this campaign (against Luton Town in August), with Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Brentford all victorious at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have suffered eight Premier League defeats on their turf in 2023, their most in a single calendar year.