Pep Guardiola has backed Chelsea to soon be ‘fighting for titles’ as his Manchester City team travel to face the west Londoners this weekend.
Manchester City make the trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday aiming to keep their lead at the top of the Premier League table. Guardiola’s side will face a Chelsea team in transition, following wholesale changes since Todd Boehly’s takeover of the Blues in 2022.
Chelsea have spent more than £1bn on new players across the last three transfer windows, but are 10th in the Premier League table after an underwhelming start under new head coach Mauricio Pochettino.
However, Guardiola was full of praise for Chelsea and believes it won’t be long before this weekend’s opponents are again competing for major honours.
“They are aggressive and have good patterns. It’s one of the toughest games we have during the season,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference.
“[We will] try to maintain the level of our game but sooner or later Chelsea will be there fighting for titles [again], no doubt about that.”
One player who will be familiar to Guardiola is Cole Palmer, who left City during the summer to sign for Chelsea in search of regular football. The 21-year-old has impressed since his move to the capital and was this week name-checked by England manager Gareth Southgate.
“I’m really pleased for him. The reason he left is to get game time, and he has it, so good for him. Congratulations to Chelsea and to him.”
Another name who has represented both clubs is Kevin De Bruyne, though the midfielder will miss out against his former team as he recovers from a hamstring injury. The Belgian has not featured since undergoing surgery during the summer.
“I spoke with him and he said he feels really good. He’s not training with us and I don’t know [when he will return].
“With this kind of injury it’s better we don’t put pressure on. Kevin was a bad injury with surgeries so it’s step by step.”