Chelsea and Manchester City will have a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final this weekend when the two sides meet in the Premier League on Saturday.
May 29 and the final between the two sides is still some time away and there is business to attend domestically this weekend. Chelsea still need to keep up their momentum in the race for the top four, while City are inching closer to their third Premier League title in four years.
Pep Guardiola’s side can clinch the title if they inflict defeat on Thomas Tuchel’s side this weekend, regardless of what Manchester United do when they face Aston Villa on Sunday in the Midlands.
Tuchel has already beaten Guardiola this season, the 1-0 victory for Chelsea in the FA Cup semi final at Wembley last month when his side expertly stifled the Premier League champions-elect.
Repeating the trick this weekend wouldn’t go amiss as the Blues have a tough run-in, starting with City before a home game against Arsenal, then Leicester, followed by the final day trip to Aston Villa.
After an exhausting two legs against Real Madrid, there will be some tired Blues players among the squid, who will have been given the day off on Thursday to rest and recover before reporting back to Cobham on Friday for training.
So who is likely to start, who is untouchable and who is potentially droppable for another player to get a chance this weekend?
There is arguably a core of nine players who simply have to start at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.
Edouard Mendy, fresh off his superb display against Real, should be one of them in goal. The Blues have kept an incredible 18 clean sheets since Tuchel arrived, 13 of them by Mendy.
At centre back, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva are all set to start once again. If there was going to be a change there then it could be Silva making way in order to keep himself fresh, with Kurt Zouma coming in.
In midfield, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante have got their spots sewn up for the considerable future, depending on when Mateo Kovacic returns from injury, which is not expected to be this weekend.
Mason Mount doesn’t get tired by the looks of it so is another automatic pick. At the moment, so is Timo Werner.
Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech are both battling for places but may well find themselves sidelined this weekend with Kai Havertz keeping up his good recent run of form in the victory over Madrid.
Tuchel boasts an impressive squad and he is not likely to rotate it too much on Saturday despite exhausting games recently. Reece James could come in at right wing-back to give Cesar Azpilicueta a break if Tuchel deems it necessary