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And he clearly fears the worst with Pep Guardiola's all-conquering team up next.

Those five absentees were barely missed, if at all, which is staggering when you consider that their combined value in the transfer market right now would probably be close to £600 million.

"If you have to play against them for ten months they are the best in the world at the moment".

A number of the Blues players looked exhausted from playing too much football and a number of people have been urging the Italian manager to ret some of his players on Saturday.

He is one of the most experienced full-backs around in the Premier League and has been such a consistent performer for Manchester United since he joined in 2009.

Manchester City are without a host of players but still retain favourite status ahead of the match.

Stamford Bridge is the next obstacle and Chelsea, with Eden Hazard flourishing again under Maurizio Sarri, are a team capable of beating anybody on their day. In Sarri's Chelsea, he doesn't look it.

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They remain a tough opponent for City, and the tight and confined spaces of Stamford Bridge may play in the home side's favour. Manchester City are the champions and are top of the league so their power may need to be countered with specific changes to shackle them and stop their free-scoring ways.

So if City emerge unscathed from Stamford Bridge, where are they likely to lose between now and the end of the season?

Chelsea have lost two of their last three home Premier League games against Man City (W1), having lost just two of their first 18 against them in the competition (W11 D5 L2).

The Blues were initially talked up as Manchester City's title rivals after going unbeaten in their opening 12 games of the Premier League season.

That was shown to be the case at Watford.

Alonso is fortunate as Maurizio Sarri does not appear to have much faith in Emerson Palmieri, else he may well have lost his starting position by now.

Sarri's rotation is set to continue but he has five players who have played in every league game so far this season, suggesting that these are the players that he thinks he can't afford to rest.


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