Manchester City vs Chelsea: Lewis vs Pulisic & Other Key Battles To Watch Out For

Manchester City entertain Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening in what will be the standout fixture in this week’s EFL Cup third-round ties.

The Sky Blues head into this game off the back of a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Fulham in the Premier League. It was the Pep Guardiola-managed side’s third league win on the bounce, helping them keep in touching distance with league leaders Arsenal, who beat Chelsea 1-0 away.

The Pensioners have now suffered two successive defeats in the Premier League after losing 4-1 earlier to Brighton at the Amex Stadium last weekend. This saw them fall further behind Arsenal in the table, with Graham Potter feeling some heat.

On that note, here are the key battles that could define the outcome of the cup tie between Man City and Chelsea.

#Christian Pulisic vs Rico Lewis

With the EFL Cup in its early stages, both Graham Potter and Pep Guardiola are expected to rotate their squads. For Chelsea, Potter could go with a 4-3-3 formation with Armando Broja leading the charge in attack, and Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech occupying the wide positions.

Operating on the left, Pulisic will be hoping to impress the new manager after falling down the pecking order in the last 12-15 months at the club. Injuries and lack of consistency have hampered the American’s career at Stamford Bridge, but the 24-year-old is expected to get opportunities under Potter.

As Joao Cancelo will serve his one-match suspension in the EFL Cup after being shown a straight red card against Fulham and Kyle Walker still on the sidelines, Pep Guardiola could hand teenager Rico Lewis a start at right-back. Lewis was solid in his Champions League debut in the 3-1 win over Sevilla last week, scoring the equaliser for his team.

That being said, how Lewis copes with Pulisic while showing his attacking endeavours down the right will be an interesting watch.

#Conor Gallagher vs Cole Palmer

Should Potter decide to freshen up his midfield, Conor Gallagher will be the first player he decides to hand a start. Unlike Thomas Tuchel, who viewed Gallagher as an impact player, rather than a starter in the star-studded Chelsea side, Potter trusts the young midfielder and has not shied away from giving him regular game time.

As for Man City, Guardiola could give valuable minutes to the talented Cole Palmer, who has never disappointed when selected. Palmer is highly rated at the club and has already made 11 appearances across all competitions this season, which shows how much the City boss trusts him.

In the middle of the park, the battle of two young Englishmen will be a good watch.

#Julian Alvarez vs Kalidou Koulibaly

Erling Haaland was only fit enough to be on the bench against Fulham, so Pep Guardiola opted to start Julian Alvarez as the centre-forward. And Alvarez stepped up to fill some big boots, scoring a fantastic goal against Fulham in the first half.

The young Argentinean did enough to warrant another start for Man City, which will give Haaland more time to fully recover from his injury. Alvarez could come up against Kalidou Koulibaly on Wednesday.

Koulibaly has not had a great start to life at Chelsea, owing to knee issues and inconsistent form. He could only make the bench against Arsenal at the weekend, but with Potter expected to rest Thiago Silva, the Senegalese will have to marshal the troops at the back at the Etihad Stadium.

Strong, tenacious and experienced, Koulibaly will be tasked with shackling Alvarez and him doing so would likely improve Chelsea’s chances of beating Man City in the EFL Cup.

Related Posts

About The Author