LONDON (AFP) – Stung by a last-minute defeat in the Champions League, Manchester City will attempt to make up ground in the Premier League title race when they host leaders Chelsea on Sunday.
A 90th-minute strike by former player Jerome Boateng condemned City to a 1-0 loss at Bayern Munich on Wednesday and left Manuel Pellegrini’s side without a victory in three matches.
Chelsea can open up an eight-point lead over the champions if they pull off a repeat of their 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium in February and City midfielder Fernandinho says it is a game that his side must win.
“That is not easy for a big team such as City (to lose against Bayern), but the best way to recover our confidence and our best qualities is to win the next game,” said the Brazilian.
“Already we think about the Chelsea game. We have to win this game because we have had a (2-2) draw against Arsenal and a (1-0) loss at home to Stoke. We have to recover points to think about the top of the table.” Chelsea are gunning for a fifth consecutive league victory, but their momentum took a blow in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Schalke.
A breakaway goal by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar earned the German side a point after Cesc Fabregas had put the hosts ahead and Chelsea captain John Terry has urged his team to cut out the defensive errors that have seen them concede six goals in their first four league outings.
City will restore Sergio Aguero to their starting XI and seven-goal top scorer Diego Costa will return for Chelsea after the two players started their respective sides’ Champions League openers on the bench.
Arsenal also endured punishment at German hands in the Champions League, losing 2-0 at Borussia Dortmund, and have drawn their last three games in the league.
On Saturday Arsene Wenger’s side visit Aston Villa, who climbed to second place in the league table with an impressive 1-0 victory at Liverpool in their last game.