Man City v Chelsea: the six key battles

After seven straight Premier League victories, Chelsea travel to Manchester City in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off. Here are the six match-ups we believe could be pivotal.

Diego Costa v John Stones

Antonio Conte spoke highly of Costa’s new-found discipline in the pre-match press conference, but he remains one yellow card from suspension until the tallies are reset on 31 December. He and Stones could have been team-mates had Everton not resisted Chelsea’s efforts to sign him – instead City got their man and will task him with keeping 10-goal Costa quiet.

David Luiz v Sergio Aguero

At the other end is an all South American tussle. Aguero is matching Costa goal-for-goal this season but has proved a bit of a flat-track bully, netting against Sunderland, Stoke, Swansea, West Brom, Middlesbrough and Burnley. Luiz will hope for a repeat of the clean sheet his Brazil side achieved against Aguero’s Argentina in a 2014 friendly.

Victor Moses v Aleksandar Kolarov

In-form Moses is enjoying a revival under Conte, with speculation about interest from Barcelona. It is difficult to predict who he may face on Saturday, given City’s options at full-back and the possibility of them matching up Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation. His most likely opponent is Kolarov, either at left-back in a 4-2-3-1 or as a left-sided centre-back in a three.

N’Golo Kante v Kevin De Bruyne

Conte also expressed his admiration for the talents of De Bruyne, admitting it was “a pity” that the former Chelsea man was not still at Stamford Bridge. And that’s no surprise, given the Belgian has created eight goals in 12 Premier League games this season. Kante, though, has the energy to disrupt City’s passing game, as he did when Leicester beat them 3-1 in February.

Marcos Alonso v Raheem Sterling

Alonso has also been earning plaudits in some quarters but will face one of the biggest challenges of his brief Chelsea career against speedster Sterling. There were suggestions in the summer the Harlesden-raised winger could be on his way out of the club but instead has blossomed under Guardiola, with five goals and seven assists to his name this season.

Antonio Conte v Pep Guardiola

Two of the highest-profile managers in Europe meet in the dugout for the first time – their paths never crossed as players either, despite both playing for their countries in the 1990s and Guardiola spending a brief period in Serie A. The two tacticians were fulsome in their praise of each other before kick-off, but which will have the greater influence over the game?