Chelsea vs Manchester City: Three Blues who must start

Chelsea questionably won their latest London derby, though that depends on who you ask. The score of the Crystal Palace game was 1-1 at the 90-minute mark, but it finished as a 3-1 Chelsea win after two lightening quick counterattacks saw Cole Palmer assist Conor Gallagher and Enzo Fernandez in the 91st and 94th minute respectively.

Crystal Palace v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Crystal Palace v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Vince Mignott/MB Media/GettyImages

Chelsea is still 10th in the Premier League table having conceded 40 league goals already. Mauricio Pochettino's men need to keep winning if the pressure is to be lifted from the shoulders of the former Paris Saint Germain gaffer. Here are three Blues the Pride of London thinks need to start against Manchester City to give them the best chance of victory:

Nicolas Jackson (No. 15) Striker, Senegal

Jackson is Chelsea's most influential forward. He is the glue that holds the attack together. His work rate in pressing opponents as well as his strength and skill to hold the ball in congested areas of the pitch, are invaluable things no other player brings to the pitch for the Blues. His dribbling and ability to compete against centerbacks bigger than him make him a threat to most defenses. He is the club's highest shot-taker, and combined with the fact that he ranks in the 92nd percentile for non-penalty xG per90 (0.63) he is Pochettino's best chance at scoring against the Premier League Champions. Goals scored would be particularly important against Man City because it would be difficult to keep Guardiola's men out, especially having conceded 1.7 goals per game this season as things stand.

Raheem Sterling (No. 7) Left winger, England

Sterling has not started any of Chelsea's last two games in all competitions, but his importance in this game cannot be overemphasized. Sterling is usually able to "make it stick" for the Blues in the final third, and that is something no other winger gives the west Londoners. His speed and movement in the final third is something Man City will have to deal with all game. His performance in the reverse fixture where Chelsea scored four goals was superb. His energy means that Pochettino's plan to press Man City high up the pitch would be a very effective one.

Malo Gusto (No. 27) Right back, France

Pochettino may go to a three-centerback formation against Man City, though he's not likely to do that anymore considering Benoit Badiashile got injured. This means it will most likely be a back four again, in which case Gusto would be key. Gusto's speed would be difficult for whoever his opponent number would be, and his crossing would be another dimension to Chelsea's attacks that Pep Guardiola will have to worry about. Whoever Pochettino deploys at right winger is likely to cut inside, and if it's Cole Palmer he'd have a free role, this means there'd be avenues to overload Man City's left-hand side. His passing is quite impressive for a fullback, completing 90% of his passing and 66% of his long passes. If the Blues play their cards right, Gusto would prove extremely effective.

Of course, there are more players fans can expect to be influential against Manchester City tomorrow, but these three are particularly crucial to the team getting the desired results at the Etihad tomorrow. Chelsea's win over Aston Villa and Crystal Palace did not alleviate the pressure on the manager, and a severe loss here would set off more rumors about replacing Pochettino.