Following a 2-1 victory at Newcastle, Leicester climbed up to third place. John Brewin’s got plenty.
Before The Game Reading
With Covid-19, Ederson is out, so American goalkeeper Zack Steffen can debut for Manchester City in the Premier League. Also absent from the team are Nathan Ake, Ferran Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Eric Garcia, Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus and Tommy Doyle.
The rest tested positive for Covid, while Ake and Laporte were injured.
The excellent Hakim Ziyech returns to the Chelsea team, and at the center forward, Timo Werner gets a starting spot. Olivier Giroud, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Anthony Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who had a 1-1 draw with Villa in the starting eleven last year, are out.
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Thiago, Chilwell; Kovacic, Kante, Mount; Ziyech, Werner, Pulisic. Substitutes: Kepa, Rudiger, Emerson, Jorginho, Gilmour, Havertz, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi. Chelsea (possible 4-3-3)
Steffen; Cancelo, Bricks, Dias, Zinchecnko; Rodri, Gundogan; Silva, De Bruyne, Foden; Sterling. Substitutes: Carson, Mendy, Harwood-Bells, Mbete, Fernandinho, Aguero, Mahrez, Delap. Manchester City (possible 4-2-3-1)
Anthony Taylor, the referee.
Frankie Cosmos’ Birthday Album, written when she was a teenager, is classic pop for 68 seconds: charming, contemptuous, wise and melancholy. The opening lyrics “Just because I am a certain age/Doesn’t mean that I am any older than I was yesterday” capture the abstract irony of the milestones that most of us cling to, and came to mind as I thought this afternoon at Stamford Bridge about the game between Chelsea and Manchester City.
Sure, now it’s 2021, but the pains of 2020 haven’t melted into the ether miraculously.
Covid-19 is now the bane of our lives, more than ever impacting Premier League clubs.
Manchester City would have to do without five players this afternoon, including Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus, according to rumors, because they screened Covid favorably. Soon we will find out who the others are.
This is a strong opportunity for Chelsea to improve its recent bad form, considering City’s problems. They’ve only picked up four points from their last five games, with most of them leaving home. This season, only Liverpool have gained more points and scored more goals at home than Chelsea, yet Manchester City by George Graham will make it difficult for them to take any chances.
On 26 points, the two teams are tied, with City having two games in hand, so a loss today will not ruin their chances for the championship.
It’s a more significant game for Chelsea because the pressure on Frank Lampard is mounting and because they have an advantage both at home and away.
It’s not a win-must, but it’s a lose-not-must.