Manchester City could virtually lock up the 2021-22 Premier League title with 16 matches left to play if the defending champion can beat second-place Chelsea at home on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s squad has built a 10-point lead over its closest rival thanks to an 11-game league win streak that has coincided with Chelsea dropping points of late with six draws and a loss in that same span.
After a strong start to the campaign, Chelsea’s momentum was interrupted for a lengthy stretch by a combination of COVID-19 cases and injuries. Although the reigning European champion has fallen behind, a win at the Etihad Stadium would revive its title hopes just days after advancing to the Carabao Cup final.
Chelsea had Man City’s number last year after manager Thomas Tuchel took the helm of the Blues in January 2021. In a period of a few weeks, he guided the Blues to a Champions League final victory over City and an FA Cup semifinal knockout win.
Manchester City exacted some level of revenge this season with a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in September on Matchday 6. But the ultimate payback would be virtually knocking out Chelsea from another Premier League race. Chelsea last won the EPL in 2016-17; Man City has three league triumphs since then and a fourth may not be far behind if the result goes its way on Saturday.
Sporting News is following the match live and providing live score updates, match commentary and highlights as they happen.
Man City vs. Chelsea live score
(All times Eastern)
14th min.: After a short corner by Man City, John Stones gets a header on target but it’s right at Kepa. The match has a feel of a true heavyweight battle so far.
10th min.: A slip by Man City center back Aymeric Laporte opens a running lane for Romelu Lukaku who makes a bad decision when he got to the box and passes to Ziyech, who was offside. A real opportunity vanishes for the visitors.
7th min.: On the other flank, it’s Raheem Sterling beating Marcos Alonso and the Chelsea man gets booked for it. Those Man City wide players are going to be a real problem for Chelsea.
4th min.: Man City’s Grealish nearly beats Azpilicueta on a ball over the top and goalkeeper Kepa has to come off his line, kicking the ball away and off his teammate for a Man City corner. Nothing comes of it. It will be interesting to watch whether Man City target Azpilicueta during this game.
1st min.: After the players take a knee, Chelsea kicks us off. Hakim Ziyech is on the left and Christian Pulisic is set up wide right.
7:29 a.m.: Teams are on the field, benches have greeted one another. This game is about to kick off.
7:09 a.m.: Here’s Thomas Tuchel’s explanation for going with Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech over Mason Mount.
Tuchel on starting Ziyech & Pulisic over Mount: Christian & Hakim for their fresh legs and because they’re a bit more runners than for example Mason. We thought about it [playing a false nine] to maybe create a bit of an overload but I think it can suit Romelu as well.” #MCICHE
— Simon Johnson (@SJohnsonSport) January 15, 2022
6:52 a.m.: The lineups are out and outlined in full (with subs) in the next section. There are surprises on both sides with Ruben Dias (Man City) and Jorginho (Chelsea) on the bench to start the match. Man City have several academy players among the subs.
5:42 a.m.: Here’s something to kill the time before the game: Rio Ferdinand sat down with Kevin De Bruyne:
“It’s a six-pointer game. The gap could be 13, 10 or 7 points. So that’s a big difference.”
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) January 15, 2022
5:30 a.m.: High praise from Pep Guardiola, who says he learns from Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel: “He makes world football better.”
Man City boss Pep Guardiola has been full of admiration for Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel ahead of this weekends top of the table clash 🙌 pic.twitter.com/TKodzFgsH3
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 14, 2022
Man City vs. Chelsea projected lineups
Manchester City won’t have players available because of COVID-19, but the club’s not naming names. Center back John Stones is available again and takes over for captain Ruben Dias , who makes a rare appearance on the bench. Jack Grealish is back in the starting XI with Riyad Mahrez away at AFCON 2022 with Algeria.
On matchday we learned that Oleksandr Zinchenko is out with a knock after missing two matches due to COVID-19. Also missing from the squad are Nathan Ake , Cole Palmer and Kayky , but no reason for their absence has been disclosed thus far.
Man City starting lineup (4-3-3, right to left): 31-Ederson (GK) — 2-Kyle Walker, 5-John Stones, 14-Aymeric Laporte, 27-Joao Cancelo — 17-Kevin De Bruyne, 16-Rodri, 20-Bernardo Silva — 7-Raheem Sterling, 47-Phil Foden, 10-Jack Grealish
Man City subs (9): 13-Zack Steffen (GK), 3-Ruben Dias, 97-Josh Wilson-Esbrand, 79-Luke Mbete, 25-Fernandinho, 8-Ilkay Gundogan, 90-Romeo Lavia, 87-James McAtee, 9-Gabriel Jesus
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has no fresh injury concerns to navigate, which is good news for the Blues. But the squad will still be missing Reece James (hamstring), Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring), Ben Chilwell (ACL tear), Edouard Mendy (AFCON 2022) and Andreas Christensen (COVID-19).
American winger Christian Pulisic gets to play in a preferred forward role, while Jorginho , Mason Mount and Kai Havertz start on the bench.
Chelsea starting lineup (3-4-3, right to left): 1-Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK) — 2-Antonio Rudiger, 6-Thiago Silva, 31-Malang Sarr — 28-Cesar Azpilicueta, 7-N’Golo Kante, 8-Mateo Kovacic, 3-Marcos Alonso — 10-Christian Pulisic, 9-Romelu Lukaku, 22-Hakim Ziyech
Chelsea subs (9): 13-Marcus Bettinelli (GK), 12-Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 17-Saul Niguez, 18-Ross Barkley, 5-Jorginho, 20-Callum Hudson-Odoi, 19-Mason Mount, 29-Kai Havertz, 11-Timo Werner
How to watch Man City vs. Chelsea
- Date: Saturday, Jan. 15
- Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
- TV channel: —
- Streaming: Peacock (subscribers only)
Saturday’s match between Man City and Chelsea from the Etihad will be broadcast exclusively on NBC’s premium streaming platform, Peacock, in the USA.