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Man City: Guardiola highlights key Chelsea strength ahead of “tough” match

Pep Guardiola at Man City
© Ace Football

Chelsea hope to build on consecutive wins over Aston Villa and Crystal Palace when they travel to Etihad on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola has praised Chelsea as an “exceptional team” ahead of Manchester City’s next Premier League game against the Blues.

Chelsea have been stranded in the Premier League mid-table for most of the current campaign, struggling to maintain consistency with their performances under Mauricio Pochettino. But Guardiola believes his side should prepare for a difficult match against the Blues on Saturday.

“One of the toughest games we have until the end of the season,” Guardiola said of the upcoming game at Etihad.

“They’re [Chelsea] playing really good. They have everything; intensity, quality. Most teams are defined if they are not able to lose the ball and it’s difficult to find a player who can lose the ball.”

Guardiola’s emphasis on Chelsea’s ball control is backed by stats. In a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace last Monday, the Blues registered 78% possession and 14 shots as they completed an impressive comeback at Selhurst Park. However, Mauricio Pochettino will have to change his lineup as two regular starters are set to miss the Man City game. 

“Carney Chukwuemeka twisted his ankle two days ago, he’s out,” the Chelsea manager said. “Thiago Silva also has minor injury; he is not available. We need to assess day by day.”