Chelsea vs Manchester City - live! Eden Hazard puts Blues back in control after Sergio Aguero's equaliser

Live Blog

The table-topping Blues host Pep Guardiola's men hoping to bounce back from their surprise defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend

Chelsea host Manchester City in a Premier League clash on Wednesday night, as Antonio Conte’s side look to bounce back from their shock defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend with victory over Pep Guardiola's men.

Follow all the live action below...

Live Updates

Good evening and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of tonight's blockbuster showdown between league leaders Chelsea and Manchester City.
 
After Saturday's shock defeat by Crystal Palace can the Blues hit back or will City add another twist to the Premier League tale as they bid to secure a top-four finish?
 
Team news to follow shortly - stay tuned!

And the teams are in!

 
 
Just the one change for Chelsea tonight with Kurt Zouma coming in for Nemanja Matic. 
 
The visitors make two changes with Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph (of all people) making a start for Guardiola tonight.
So what have the managers been saying ahead of tonight's game?
 
Despite dropping three points against Palace, Antonio Conte has refused to panic. 
 
"It's normal that with 27 points available anything can happen in the league, but we are in a really good position," he says.
 
"We haven't had many days to prepare for this game but it's the same for Man City. These teams have a clear identity.
 
"It won't be easy because they are a very good team."
Pep Guardiola has struck a much more negative tone, admitting that he cannot be successful this season such was the expectation that surrounded him on his arrival to the English Premier League.
 
The Catalan replaced Manuel Pellegrini as manager at the Etihad last summer, with numerous pundits tipping the former Barcelona boss, a two-time Champions League winner, for immediate success in England.
 
City started their season in stellar fashion, winning their first 10 games, but inconsistency and injury has since hindered the side’s pursuit of silverware.
 
Pep Guardiola
 
"In my case I had to win the treble and change English football,” he said on Tuesday.
 
“Expectations were quite high, that's why I'm going to fall short definitely, I cannot have success this season. 
 
"In spite of that [City’s inconsistent results] I think a lot of games we've played a lot of good football. I didn't expect that high level. But then also we were not solid. When they arrive 'wow they are going to create chances and score goals' and that does not help mentally or the confidence.”
All eyes will certainly be on Diego Costa tonight.
 
Since the turn of the year the Spaniard has managed just three goals in nine appearances, compared with a return of 14 in 18 appearances before that.
 
A look back at his record shows that the forward has struggled to sustain his form after strong starts. At Atletico Madrid in the 2013/14 season, Costa had reached 19 goals by the end of December but added only eight more goals come May.
 
The pressure is on for Costa
 
 
Again, in his first season at Chelsea, he put away 13 goals leading up to December but managed just seven after that.
 
Conte has said he’s “not concerned” by Costa’s lack of recent goals, arguing that he has been “performing well”, but there’s no doubt that the pressure is building for the forward. He needs a stellar performance tonight to silence his critics and put any lingering questions to bed.
A first start for Fabian Delph this season. The former Aston Villa player has been largely anonymous, making rare appearances for Guardiola here and there.
 
Delph with Guardiola
 
Such lack of action has seen the midfielder subsequently linked with a move out of the Etihad so there's no doubt that tonight is a big moment for him. Against Chelsea though he's well and truly been thrown into the deep end. Will he sink or swim? We'll soon find out.
As our man Miguel Delaney explains, Guardiola has sought to add a degree of physicality to his side tonight as they attempt to halt the Chelsea juggernaut in its tracks. Given the pace and calibre of the home team's counter-attacking football, the likes of Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph face quite the challenge tonight. Whether or not the newcomers can deliver remains to be seen...
We're moments away from kick-off now as the players make their way onto the pitch. Stay tuned!
1 min: And that's kick-off! We're under way here at Stamford Bridge.
2 min: A lively start from City who dominate proceedings with some slick passing across their back four. It's worked forward down to the left, with Sane popping it inside for Aguero, but the Argentine is stopped in his tracks by the ubiquitous Kante and play is recycled.
3 min: Promising build-up play from the home side as the ball is pinged out to Alonso near the left-hand side byline. He immediately fires it across the mouth of the goal but his delivery sails high above Costa, falling to Azpilicueta. The defender volleys it back but Delph is on hand to clear the danger.
6 min: Another Chelsea attack down the left, with Hazard this time cutting back to Costa on the edge of the City box. A sloppy first touch lets the Spaniard down as he struggles to get the ball from out of his feet. His subsequent attempt on goal leaves plenty to be desired for...
8 min: After City's bright opening minute, Chelsea have gradually tightened their grip on the game as another wave of blue shirts storms into the visitors' final third. Pedro seeks out Costa ahead of him but his delivery is intercepted by Kompany whose intelligent reading of the game could well prove vital tonight.
GOAL! Chelsea take the lead!
GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Man City (Hazard, 12 min):
 
It was bread-and-butter stuff from the home side, with Eden Hazard landing the hammer blow. A clever reverse pass played Azpilicueta in behind the City defence who immediately cut the ball back to the Belgian positioned on the right-hand side of the visitors' penalty box. With one clean sweep of his right foot, Hazard let loose with his shot taking a fortunate deflection off Kompany to bamboozle Caballero and find the back of the net.
16 min: City respond with a well-worked passage of play down the right before Fabian Delph is eventually picked out 25 yards out from the Chelsea goal. With acres of space, and not a blue shirt in sight, the midfielder chances his luck. It's not to be though as his effort sails into the crowd behind. 
19 min: Fernandinho with the long range effort this time. Shifting play onto his right, he fires one straight down the throat of Courtois who struggles to keep hold of it such is the power of the shot. He bounces it to the ground and with no City attackers in the vicinity, Chelsea breathe a sigh of relief.
22 min: Chance for City! Some slick, quick-fire passes between Aguero and Silva sets up the Argentine for a well-positioned shot on goal, just outside the edge of Chelsea's penalty area. It's driven hard and low to the bottom left hand corner but Courtois reacts well to deny Aguero an equaliser.

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What time does it start?

The match will kick off at 8.00pm on Wednesday 5 April.

Where can I watch it?

It will be shown live on BT Sport 1, with coverage starting at 7.15pm.

Team news

Victor Moses was ruled out of the defeat to his former club Crystal Palace with a toe injury and may not have recovered in time for City’s visit.

Pablo Zabaleta is available for the visitors and could replace Jesus Navas at right-back, despite the winger’s commendable stint in defence against Arsenal.

Gabriel Jesus, who has returned to light training, nevertheless remains a long-term absentee, as does injury-prone midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

Previous meetings

Manchester City 1 Chelsea 3
Premier League, December 2016

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 3
Premier League, April 2016

Chelsea 5 Manchester City 1
FA Cup, February 2016

Form

Chelsea: DWWWL

Manchester City: WWDDD

Odds

Provided by 888.com

Chelsea: 33/25

Manchester City: 43/20

Draw: 12/5

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