Two sides in contrasting form will see Manchester City and Chelsea trade tackles at the Etihad Stadium in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday night.
The Cityzens will enter the contest on the back of a three-match winning streak, including their 2-1 home win over Fulham in the Premier League last time out.
Pep Guardiola’s side started the game without their goal machine Erling Braut Haaland, but it did not look like much of a problem when Julian Alvarez opened the scoring in the 16th minute.
However, the game took a wrong turn for the reigning champions when Joao Cancelo was sent off for a professional last-man foul on Harry Wilson, with Andreas Pereira converting the resulting penalty.
Not many managers have the luxury of bringing on Haaland from the bench, but the Norwegian made his way onto the pitch in place of Alvarez in the second half, and he had the final say on the scoreline.
Kevin De Bruyne was adjudged to have been fouled in the Fulham box, and Haaland picked his spot with a well-taken penalty, much to the dismay of Bernd Leno, who guessed the right way but could not get there.
Now diverting attention away from their battle for Premier League supremacy, City will focus on the Carabao Cup that has been their birthright under Guardiola, having won the competition four consecutive times under the Spaniard.
After a delightful start to his reign as Chelsea boss, Graham Potter finds himself in troubled waters in west London, with the Blues winless in their last four outings in the league, including a humbling defeat at the hands of his former employers Brighton & Hove Albion.
Their defeat to London rivals Arsenal last time out stung their pride as Bukayo Saka’s 63rd-minute cross evaded everyone in Edouard Mendy’s 18-yard area except for Gabriel Magalhaes, who poked into an empty net.
Although they finished top of their Champions League group, discontent has started to grow from the Chelsea faithful towards Potter.
The former Brighton boss needs a win sooner rather than later, but he has not been handed the easiest Carabao Cup tie to try and turn his side’s fortunes around, as Chelsea have lost ten of their last 14 away matches against City in all competitions (W3, D1).
City’s title-winning streak in this competition was ended by West Ham United last season when the Hammers ran out 5-3 winners on penalty after playing out a goalless draw.
However, the eight-time winners have never been knocked out in the third round under Guardiola. Their most recent exit at this stage of the competition came under Roberto Mancini in the 2012/13 campaign.
City have also won each of their last 15 games at the Etihad in all competitions, which is a reassuring statistic for the home faithful coming into what will be a tricky tie for the Sky Blues.
Chelsea progressed to the Carabao Cup final under Thomas Tuchel last season before losing to Liverpool on penalties in a nerve-racking tie.
However, the five-time champions have not suffered elimination in the third round of the competition since the 2010/11 campaign, when they lost 4-3 to Newcastle United.
They have also progressed from their last 11 ties at this stage in the tournament.
Both sides will meet for the fourth time in the League Cup on Wednesday night, and the first since the 2019 final that ended 0-0 before the Cityzens beat Chelsea 4-3 on penalties.
Manchester City vs Chelsea Predicted Line-ups
Manchester City (4-3-3): Stefan Ortega; Rico Lewis, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Sergio Gomez; Cole Palmer, Rodri, Phil Foden; Riyad Mahrez, Julian Alvarez, Jack Grealish.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Edouard Mendy; Cesar Azpilicueta, Trevoh Chalobah, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella; Conor Gallagher, Denis Zakaria, Mateo Kovacic; Hakim Ziyech, Armando Broja, Christian Pulisic.
How to Watch?
Manchester City vs Chelsea is available to watch online via Chelsea live streams.
Manchester City vs Chelsea Prediction
Neither manager is expected to field a strong 11 for this tie with one league game left before the international break. However, with the glaring contrasting form of both sides, we expect City to progress to the next round.
Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea
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