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Three things Chelsea must do to beat Manchester City?

Saturday 30th September 2017
It could prove to be one of the games of the season on Saturday evening as Manchester City travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea in a battle between the Blues' Antonio Conte and City's Pep Guardiola. 

Both sides are in fine form, with City winning their last four games on the bounce, while Chelsea have managed to win four of their last five. It has seen the two rise to the top of the table, with City boasting 16 points, while their hosts have 13.

The game itself will see two sides crammed full of outstanding talent locking horns. City, in particular, have been impressive, as Guardiola seems to be guiding his side forward in the image that he envisaged when he took over the English club.

City will prove incredibly difficult to beat then, with Guardiola a master-tactician, but there are three areas Chelsea should target to really test City.

Stop Kevin De Bruyne

Manchester City's most important player is Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian has been outstanding this season as he has proved the heartbeat of City's team. Interestingly, the midfielder has been utilised in a very different role this season. Usually placed in a more forward role, Guardiola has decided to play De Bruyne in a deeper midfield position which has allowed the Belgian to stay in the middle of the pitch and dictate play.
It is therefore vital that Conte finds a way to put pressure on De Bruyne, which would likely stifle much of City's attacking intent. With the likes of N'Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko adding a real energy and power to the middle, they could prove the perfect weapons to stop De Bruyne, although they are likely to have their hands full with the rest of City's attack.

Regardless of this though, Guardiola has put so much importance on De Bruyne that, if Chelsea can force him into mistakes, then it would give them a massive foothold in the game.

Put pressure on Ederson

Manchester City have not been blessed with superbly competent goalkeeping in recent months with Claudio Bravo's struggles well documented. While his ability with the ball at his feet was seen as an upgrade on Joe Hart, his apparent lack of skill with his gloves became evident, and was exposed all too often by their opposition.

This summer, Guardiola sanctioned a move for Benfica's Ederson, with the goalkeeper arriving in Manchester with a big reputation. He has been fairly solid so far with his ball-playing skill and glovework making him a very competent goalkeeper. However, with so little league experience under his belt so far, Chelsea should look to put as much pressure on him as possible in a top of the table clash.

This should see high-balls, crosses and shots reign down upon City's number one. Bravo had similar treatment from a number of teams last year and was exposed for his deficiencies. While Ederson may not suffer from similar inabilities, Chelsea should still look to target him in a similar way that they would Bravo. Should he flap at one cross, drop one high-ball or misjudge a long-shot, then it could disrupt his game massively and see City immediately put on the back-foot.

Make the most of Sergio Aguero's absence

Sergio Aguero will reportedly miss City's crunch match with Chelsea with a broken rib. The forward has been in outstanding form this campaign netting six times already, and his absence will be a massive loss for City. His ability to make something from nothing, finish clinically and just be a general nuisance makes him one of the best strikers in the game today.

While Guardiola will be able to field the very talented Gabriel Jesus up-front, if the youngster is unable to perform then he will have few other options. The likes of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta will fancy their chances of isolating Jesus who is still relatively inexperienced in the Premier League.

While Aguero did fall out of the team last year as rumours circled about his future in the side, he has shown his class and ability to apply himself by working his way back into the team as he became almost indispensable. His absence could prove to be the difference between the two sides, and perhaps when it comes to looking back at the season in May, perhaps the absence of Aguero will be the reason why Chelsea gained three points from this one.

Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.

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