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Conte: City look like they can't be stopped

 

By Matt McGeehan

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has described Manchester City as "unstoppable".

The Blues, Premier League champions in Conte's first season last term, are 22 points behind tomorrow's opponents.

Pep Guardiola's side, Carabao Cup winners last Sunday and 3-0 victors at Arsenal on Thursday night, have a 16-point lead entering this weekend's fixtures.

"In this moment, they seem unstoppable," Conte said yesterday. "We must have great admiration for this team because they are having a fantastic path this season.

"Sometimes it's very difficult to find a weakness in this team."

City finished third, 15 points behind Chelsea, in Guardiola's first season in charge, but now are champions elect. Asked the reason for the turnaround in such a short space of time, Conte's answer hinted at his season-long frustration with Chelsea.

"When you work very well and there is a great feeling between the manager and the club, you can work in the way you want, to try to improve your team in the best way," Conte said. "City have the possibility to spend a lot of money. When you link this situation, good manager, money to spend in the transfer market, the same ambition, this is the final result."

Chelsea are seeking to avoid three successive away Premier League defeats for the first time in five years.

Conte, after last Sunday's loss at Manchester United, admitted they could miss out on the top four and Champions League qualification.

He called for the Blues to "fight" to secure a top-four place.

"It won't be easy. There are many very strong teams," said the Italian. "We must be ready to fight and try to get a place for next season in the Champions League."

Defenders David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu and midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko are unavailable through injury, but Ross Barkley is in contention to return following a hamstring problem.

Ederson, meanwhile, praised Guardiola's evolution of Manchester City as he toasted 100 games in charge with an impressive victory over Arsenal on Thursday night.

The victory means City now need just five more wins to sew up the title in a campaign where they have been truly dominant.

They also remain in the hunt for a maiden Champions League trophy, with the football instilled by Guardiola going largely unmatched for much of the campaign.

"The manager has evolved the way that City play," Ederson - who saved a second-half Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty on Thursday - said.

"We have to congratulate him on the milestone. I hope he can make at least 100 more games as Manchester City manager."

If City are to wrap up the title in their next five games, they must overcome Chelsea, Stoke, Everton, Manchester United and Tottenham.

But Ederson is aware that there is still work to be done.

"Obviously it is very important for us as we are starting the last part of the season," he said.

"We knew how important this game was and that we needed to win. We entered the game really, really focused and we controlled and dominated, we deserved the win and it is the third win of the season over Arsenal which is good.

"We will now start focusing on Chelsea - I think it is going to be really tough, Chelsea have a lot of talented players but we are in good shape and confident."

Kyle Walker could be missing for tomorrow's game after limping off at Arsenal with a thigh problem. His England team-mate Raheem Sterling could also remain on the sidelines as he recovers from a muscular problem while Fernandinho's hamstring issue will keep him out as Fabian Delph serves the last game of a three-match ban.

City, meanwhile, have been fined £50,000 for failing to control their players in the shock 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Wigan last month.

A group of City players surrounded referee Anthony Taylor to remonstrate over the red card awarded to Delph, and now the Football Association have issued a fine.

Guardiola's side blew the chance for a historic quadruple, with Will Grigg's goal proving decisive in the fifth-round clash.

Rival managers Guardiola and Paul Cook clashed at half-time, with a fan abusing City striker Sergio Aguero on the pitch at full-time in a heated encounter.

"Manchester City have been fined £50,000 after admitting a charge of failing to ensure that their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion," read a statement on the FA website.

Both clubs avoided sanction for clashes at half-time between managers Guardiola and Cook, with heated touchline exchanges spilling into the tunnel.

Argentina striker Aguero has reported that the individual who abused him shouted profanities and spat in his ear.

Man City

Chelsea

Premier League:

Etihad stadium, Tomorrow, 4pm

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