Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City arguably face their first rigorous test of the domestic season as they travel to defending champions Chelsea in Saturday’s evening kick off.
City arrive at Stamford Bridge after a hard-fought win over a talented Shakhtar Donetsk side in the Champions League, with Raheem Sterling adding to his impressive goal tally this season.
Chelsea perhaps enter the game with even more confidence after a superb away win over Atletico Madrid. With many hailing the performance as the best from an English side against top European opposition in some time.
City look to be without summer signing Benjamin Mendy, who has travelled to Barcelona for further assessment on a knee injury picked up against Crystal Palace. Other injury concerns, Ilkay Gundogon and captain Vincent Kompany should be available after recovering from minor injuries.
With all attacking options fit and available, Guardiola will face a dilemma as whether to partner Gabriel Jesus with Sergio Aguero. Both Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling are pushing for a starting place after displaying good goal scoring form in recent weeks.
Chelsea remain without David Luiz who will complete the final match of his three-game suspension. Deadline day singing Danny Drinkwater is still short of fitness and will have to wait for his debut.
Star man, Eden Hazard is however in line to make his first Premier League start, after Conte has cautiously managed his minutes since returning from a broken foot. His performance in Madrid this week will have delighted Conte, with Hazard playing a key role in the victory.
Returning skipper Gary Cahill will be looking to start his first Premier League game since suspension, but may find it difficult to displace either Andreas Christensen or Antonio Rudiger after strong performances away at Stoke.
Conte boasts an impressive record over Guardiola, yet to lose over 90 minutes and beating his counterpart both home and away last campaign. Conte has already expressed his displeasure at the fixture being played on Saturday, leaving his team with limited time to prepare. Chelsea fans will be hoping City’s extra day of rest will not prove decisive. Both sides will view the contest as an opportunity to display their credentials in claiming the ultimate prize next May.