In a pre-season that has been heavily impacted by the World Cup, with several senior players being unavailable thanks to their exertions from earlier in the summer, plenty of young players have been given their chances to show their worth.
Here’s a look at five players who could make their mark on Sunday’s fixture after shining in preseason.
Hudson-Odoi has been the breakout star of Chelsea’s pre-season, racing into contention for a first-team spot under Maurizio Sarri after a handful of sparkling displays this summer. He ran Arsenal‘s Hector Bellerin ragged in Dublin, showing he can excel against Premier League opposition – and that came after he’d done the same to a host of Inter Milan defenders in the previous match.
The 17-year-old is likely to start Sunday’s fixture, given Chelsea’s lack of senior attacking options. As an unknown quantity for Manchester City’s defence to deal with, he could get some joy down the Blues’ left flank.
Foden has been in the first-team picture for a year now, and became the youngest player to win a Premier League medal last season. He’s excelled again this summer, especially when they came back from 2-0 down to beat Bayern Munich.
In that match, he showed why he’s so highly thought of, as he was a thorn in the sides of Bayern’s defence throughout. The route to the City first-team is still congested but expect Foden, who starred in England’s triumphant U17 World Cup campaign last year, to at least get some minutes on Sunday as he continues to impress.
Diaz showed off some outrageous skill, with a bag of tricks that had Bayern’s defenders on toast, although his other performances were indifferent.
The youngster’s future at the club is up in the air as he enters the last season of his contract, but he’ll be hoping for another chance to impress on Sunday. At his best, he’s a dangerous dribbler, making him a handful for any defence.
Garcia impressed in defence for Pep Guardiola‘s side, with his versatility and passing ability marking him out as a player the Spaniard can rely on. He looks comfortable in both a traditional two-man defence as well as a three-at-the-back formation.
The City youth product impressed, with his standout moment coming against the Bavarians as he produced a superb last-ditch tackle. Plus, his play on the ball and his simple passing make him an ideal Guardiola defender. If he gets a chance on Sunday, it’s a fair bet he’ll show exactly why.
It’s likely that Chelsea will start with a defensive partnership of Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz, but impressive Welshman Ethan Ampadu could get some minutes after emerging for the Blues.
The 17-year-old was on the fringe of the first-team last season, seeing playing time in the early stages of the League Cup and FA Cup, and even getting a Premier League debut. He caught the eye in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Inter Milan this summer, looking a composed presence in defence, which followed a similar performance in the Blues’ tour opener against Perth Glory.
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