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Mauricio Pochettino to make 2 Key changes in Chelsea squad for Manchester City Clash

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Mauricio Pochettino to make 2 Key changes in Chelsea squad for Manchester City Clash

Mauricio Pochettino may consider making two key changes as Chelsea travel to Manchester City on Saturday for the most anticipated game of the season.

The upcoming encounter between the two giants is arguably the most difficult fixture on the Premier League calendar and City’s form of late has been frighteningly strong.

The reigning champions are staging an impressive resurgence, having clinched victory in their last six consecutive matches.

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The Citizens, hungry to reclaim their title, enter the upcoming showdown brimming with confidence and riding the crest of a red-hot winning streak. With Liverpool and Arsenal breathing down their necks in the fiercely contested title race, every match is a high-stakes battle for supremacy.

For Chelsea, however, this match presents an opportunity to play without the burden of expectation. The discrepancy in quality between the two sides is glaring, with City entrenched in their long-term project, while the Blues are still in the nascent stages of theirs, a mere seven months in.

Regardless of the odds stacked against them, Manager Pochettino demands unwavering consistency and a relentless pursuit of excellence from his squad. Although the first half of their recent victory against Crystal Palace fell short of expectations, the second half showcased a marked improvement, culminating in a hard-fought triumph for the Blues.

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What Mauricio Pochettino wants from his players

Going to the Etihad Stadium, being brave and playing freely is what Pochettino will want. And to do that, he may be tempted to field a similar side to what we have seen in the last two games – in wins against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace.

Djordje Petrovic will remain in goal in Manchester City. The Serbian has hardly put a foot wrong since coming into the team in December for the injured Robert Sanchez. There has been no timescale given on when Sanchez will return to action, but there is no guarantee he will take his place back from Petrovic even when he is fit and available.

Malo Gusto has been absolutely outstanding in the last two matches. Gusto’s form means there is no immediate rush for Reece James to return to action, which is exactly why Chelsea signed him from Lyon last year.

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There was a slight concern when he asked to be taken off in the late stages of the win at Selhurst Park. However, Pochettino confirmed after the game it was more down to fatigue than anything else and it should not be an issue for the weekend.

One change Pochettino will likely be forced to make is bringing someone in for Thiago Silva. The 39-year-old was brought off in the second-half of the win against Palace after he felt his groin following a slide tackle to block a shot.

Levi Colwill came on for Silva during the match and it is likely that the former will replace the latter on Saturday. If so, Colwill will partner Axel Disasi for just the fourth time in a back-four.

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The duo were alongside each other for about half an hour on Monday following Silva’s injury. Before that, though, they have been limited to two Carabao Cup appearances – against AFC Wimbledon (August) and Brighton (September) – as well as the FA Cup victory over Preston North End alongside one another.

Ben Chilwell is working well at left-back at the moment. A positive for Pochettino is that the England international has been able to play back-to-back full games in the space of five days and has come through them injury-free.

Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez are expected to continue in midfield. While Caicedo did not have his best game on Monday night, his positioning and protection to the defence allowed Enzo to roam forward and use his ability in attacking positions.

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Noni Madueke was hooked at half-time in the win at Palace. There was only one personnel change at the break, but there was a complete alteration to the system as well from Pochettino, but Madueke did not impress in south London.

The 21-year-old could drop out of the team on Saturday with Christopher Nkunku perhaps pushing for a start against the champions. The France international has started just one match – the defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this month – since returning from his hip injury, but has been useful from the bench.

Conor Gallagher was the star of the show on Monday night and he has established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet judging by his performances in the last couple of matches. Gallagher has been used really high up the pitch in the last two games and has excelled in doing so.

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Nicolas Jackson continues to impress for Chelsea since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations. He was used on the left-hand side against Palace but that did not really work and he was then moved into a more central role at half-time.

Cole Palmer was in a central role in the first period of the win at Selhurst Park but was moved to the right-hand side at the break and his impact was clear for everyone to see. He will be looking to make an impact in his first return to the Etihad Stadium since making the £42.5million move last summer.

As they prepare to face the formidable might of City, Pochettino will undoubtedly be rallying his troops for a display of unwavering determination and tenacity on the pitch.

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