The first top-two clash of the campaign since early October takes European Champions Chelsea to Etihad Stadium in the city of Manchester.

It is only the second meeting between the giants this season, the previous being a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge last year.

Manchester City have won just three of their past 14 Premier League encounters with teams starting the day in second place, losing six. However, the Blues’ dramatic 2-2 draw with Liverpool on 2 January gave City the advantage to go 10 points clear at the top.

The Blues who are Carabao Cup finalists, will aim to reduce the gap after poor run of four draws in their last five Premier League matches and try disrupt the Cityzens’ current run of 11 league wins on the spin.

If Thomas Tuchel’s side can seal three points at Etihad on Saturday and at Brighton on Tuesday, before Man City are in action again, the gap would be reduced to four points. Meanwhile, Liverpool, one point behind, will expect to win at Brentford on Sunday.

The North Londoners, go into their fifth Saturday early kick off campaign, with four of them coming just 62 hours after midweek cup action against Tottenham. They lost two and won two, including the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge back in September.

Chelsea won 2-1 last season with second half goals from Hakim Ziyech and Marcos Alonso, their 13th Premier League victory at away against Manchester City who have lost 27 top-flight matches to Chelsea since September 1992, City’s worst record against any Premier League rival.

Meanwhile, the Blues will be eager to welcome back, Marcos Alonso, Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante who both featured against Spurs in the second after illness, as well as Kai Havertz.

Pep Guardiola and his assistant Juanma Lillo were isolating for COVID-19 reasons last Friday, but are expected back with seven of Man City unnamed players, reportedly stricken by COVID-19, Ederson, Fernandinho, Foden, Grealish, Sterling, Stones and Zinchenko were all omitted against Swindon Town in the FA Cup.

The Cityzens will also be without the services of Riyad Mahrez, the Algerian playmaker is leading his nation at the Africa Cup of Nations and has been replaced by Cole Palmer, but Gabriel Jesus is fit and the favourite to fulfil the Algerian role this weekend.

Match week 22 Premier League Fixtures:

Friday:
10:00 PM
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace

Saturday:
3:30 PM
Manchester City vs Chelsea

6:00 PM
Burnley vs Leicester City
Newcastle vs Watford
Norwich City vs Everton
Wolves vs Southampton

10:30 PM
Aston Villa vs Manchester United

Sunday:
5:00 PM
Liverpool vs Brentford
West Ham United vs Leeds United

7:30 PM
Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal