Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Man City, EPL
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas reacts during the game against Crystal Palace in the Premier League, April 1, 2017Reuters

Chelsea received a jolt from a London club last weekend, and while the blow that was landed should not really make that big a difference in the title race, it would have been a wake-up call for the Blues; that they cannot just go into cruise mode as they try to secure their second Premier League crown in three years.

Antonio Conte, with the advantage of working with the team through the week, owing to the lack of European football, has moulded an intimidating side – one that defends perfectly and knows how to hurt teams on the counter-attack.

But it was Crystal Palace's perfect mixture of attack and defence that felled Chelsea on Saturday, leaving the door just that wee bit open for Tottenham. Seven points is the lead that the Blues enjoy at the moment from Spurs, and while all the remaining sides look out of contention, Manchester City will want to believe they are still in with a shot.

City currently lie a further four points adrift, which means, even if they beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, there will still be an eight-point gap, with just eight matches to go.

So, realistically, the title race is done and dusted as far as Pep Guardiola's side are concerned, but that doesn't mean they don't have much to play for. City are fourth at the moment, a point behind Liverpool, with a game in hand, and they will want to make sure they make complete use of that extra fixture.

Manchester United and Arsenal aren't far behind either, so City cannot afford to drop too many points in this final run-in, if they want to play Champions League football next season.

Hector Bellerin, Arsenal, Leroy Sane, Manchester City, EPL
Leroy Sane was outstanding for Manchester City in their previous game, against ArsenalReuters

City are coming off a manic 2-2 draw with Arsenal, where both teams completely abandoned the art of defending – not that either of them are masters of that particular art – favouring all-out attack instead.

While that made for compelling viewing for the neutral, Guardiola will know City cannot afford go in with the same strategy against Chelsea. Yes, they will still play with an attacking mindset, but it will be, or at least should, a lot more controlled.

Give Chelsea open spaces, and they will take advantage. With Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Pedro in sparkling form, all the Blues need are a couple of openings to put the match to bed, and considering they are coming off a defeat, they will have an extra point to prove as well.

How much this City attack has developed under Guardiola will be known on Wednesday – because, at the moment, Chelsea are as difficult as any team to break down, and if the likes of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero can find holes in that defence, Guardiola will know he has something strong for the future.

EPL schedule: Chelsea vs Manchester City.

Date: Wednesday, April 5.


Time: 8pm BST, 12.30am IST (Thursday morning).


Venue: Stamford Bridge, London.

TV listings: 

India: Star Sports Select HD2. 


UK: BT Sport 1.


USA: NBCSN, NBS Universo, Telemundo.


Australia: Optus Sport.


China: Guangdong Sports, PPTV, QQ Sports. 


Canada: Sportsnet World.


Middle East and North Africa: Bein Sports Arabia 2.