Chelsea can hand Liverpool the Premier League title by drawing or beating Sergio Aguero-less Man City on Thursday at Stamford Bridge (start time at 3:15 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). But that’s not the only part of this Chelsea – Man City preview.
Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace gives the Reds 86 points. City maxes out at 87 points, so even a draw in London will give the Reds a first Premier League era title. Here are all the scenarios up to and including July 5.
Chelsea can pull within a point of third-place Leicester City with a win over City and build a five-point cushion on chasers Manchester United and Wolves.
Chelsea is fairly fit, with Fikayo Tomori out but close to training and Callum Hudson-Odoi lacking fitness.
Pep Guardiola’s men will be without Sergio Aguero, who left the season and Golden Boot race after a knee injury against Burnley that’s required surgery.
Guardiola said that Gabriel Jesus won’t play every match in his place, with Raheem Sterling and… wait for it… Ilkay Gundogan candidates to lead the line.
Claudio Bravo, Eric Garcia, and John Stones are also out for City.
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Chelsea boss Lampard on potentially giving Liverpool its crown: “I have got absolutely no thought in Liverpool’s situation on this game for us, it makes no odds to us at all. I and we respect Liverpool and Manchester City as two fantastic teams in the last two or three seasons, they have been dominant. We can only look at it for what this match means to us. We want to win. We go against a great opponent and it’s the only way I see it.”
Man City’s Guardiola on FA Cup v Premier League: “We can’t deny that we have one eye on Newcastle. Chelsea and Liverpool are prestigious and important games but Newcastle is our game. A final for us.”
The visitors’ odds of a win remain at -127 even after Sergio Aguero was injured, according to DraftKings, while a Chelsea win is +320.
De Bruyne joined Riyad Mahrez on the score sheet when Man City beat Chelsea at the Etihad in November, N’Golo Kante scoring for the Blues in a 2-1 loss.
There’s a lot to debate here, but Gabriel Jesus is going to be so pleased to get the spotlight up top (though not at the expense of Aguero going under the knife). He can be a difference-maker and we expect a goal from him, and Kevin De Bruyne’s due for another assist as he chases the PL single-season record. That said, it all comes down to Lampard’s lineup and plans. Will he play his best players or keep an eye on Sunday’s FA Cup visit to Leicester City. Man City 2-1.