Chelsea host Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in the pick of the clash in the new year's Premier League fixtures. Neither side has truly impressed in the 2020-21 Premier League; they are languishing respetively in fifth and eighth places in the standings currently and will be desperate for three points.
The Blues have won just once in their last five games and have droppped out of the top four whereas Pep Guardiola's side have had a stop-start campaign and were recently also ravaged by a spate of COVID-19 cases. As many as five City players tested positive, including Ederson, Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus, and their game against Everton last weekend got postponed.
Ahead of the latest clash between the English giants, let's take a look at the five players from either team who could play a key role in the game.
Note - Manchester City haven't revealed the names of the other two players who have contracted the virus; so players have been chosen based on an assumption that they're fit.
#5 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Goals have not been Manchester City's forte this season; they have netted only 21 times in 14 games, the lowest among any team in the top half of the league standings. However, the one forward who has continued to deliver is Raheem Sterling, as he has led the City charge with aplomb.
With four goals and assists apiece, Sterling has been the most productive player in the Manchester City squad after only Kevin De Bruyne. And Sterling isn't merely making up the numbers; he has had some useful contributions.
He scored winners against Arsenal and Southampton, rescued a point against Leeds United, assisted the only goal in the draw against West Brom and was also involved in both goals against Fulham.
Even though he has still had an underwhelming league season, there's no denying the impact Raheem Sterling has had in the campaign so far, and the player could be eager to get on the scoresheet once again on Sunday.
#4 Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
Age is just a number for Thiago Silva, who's had an enormous impact in Chelsea's defence since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain last year.
The evergreen Brazilian, now 36, has marshalled the Blues backline with panache and has exhibited some great defensive nous, making some key blocks and timing his tackles to perfection.
His aerial prowess has been second to none as well; Thiago Silva has won almost 70% of his duels while also scoring two top-flight goals already.
Silva may no longer don the captain's armband, but he's been a stout leader in the Chelsea defense, and his wealth of experience could be crucial in keeping out Manchester City.