There should be very few secrets left between Chelsea and Manchester City.

Graham Potter has already been pitted against Pep Guardiola twice this season, with meeting number three just a few hours away.

The Etihad is the stage for the FA Cup third round meeting between the Premier League sides, the stadium where the regular meetings began.

City knocked out Chelsea of the Carabao Cup at the beginning of November, before knocking them down a few positions in the league earlier in the week.

Guardiola’s men narrowly triumphed 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Thursday, a victory that sent Potter sliding into 10th place.

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

But despite becoming well acquainted with one another, there is still a massive mystery to be unsolved.

Which Chelsea XI will walk out to Blue Moon this afternoon?

Here is our predicted 11 for the meeting in Manchester.


With Edouard Mendy added to the long injury list, Kepa Arrizabalaga should retain his spot between the sticks.

Kepa must demonstrate more dominance than from the previous encounter with City, where he was criticised for not denying Riyad Mahrez’s winning goal.

Ahead of the Spaniard, a back four with a few alterations.

Thiago Silva soldiers on in the middle, with Cesar Azpilicueta keeping hold of the right-back slot.

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

Changes may occur in the form of Trevoh Chalobah replacing Kalidou Koulibaly, the Englishman’s second appearance post the World Cup.

Marc Cucurella will likely make way for 18-year-old Lewis Hall at left-back, following his unconvincing performance at home in the week.


Potter may revert to the tried and tested midfield duo of Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho for this fixture.

Denis Zakaria was excellent in the capital during the latest defeat, but the experience of the £50m Italian might just take precedence here.


Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic’s probable absence has rather forced the Chelsea manager’s hand in this area of the park.

Hakim Ziyech has a strong chance of starting successive games for the first time this term.

Conor Gallagher is also in with a firm shout of returning to the team, having added extra energy in the last showdown with City.

Carney Chukwuemeka’s confident display in the face of the reigning English champions has earned him the right to make his first start for the Blues.

Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

The teenager will possibly provide support to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front, a man who must overcome the misery of being subbed as a substitute.

Chelsea predicted XI vs Manchester City: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Silva, Hall; Jorginho, Kovacic; Ziyech, Gallagher, Chukwuemeka; Aubameyang

"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."