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Antonio Conte's Chelsea side aren't used to losing games, especially at Stamford Bridge. So Saturday's defeat to Crystal Palace will have stung. But fortunately, they have the perfect opportunity to put things right against Manchester City.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) night's game now falls into the must not lose category for the Blues. Defeat, coupled with a Tottenham win at Swansea, would see their lead at the top of the Premier League table cut to four points.

It would hardly be a bad position to be in with eight games remaining but Chelsea won't want to give the chasing pack hope. Overcome Pep Guardiola's side and they're a giant step closer to lifting the title come May.

City will arrive at Stamford Bridge fresh off a 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Sunday. That match was entertaining but showcased why both teams are chasing a spot in the top four instead of fighting it out for the title.

Guardiola's side's strengths and weaknesses were evident once again. A smart tactician like Conte wouldn't have had to work too hard to identify where his players can hurt City.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte

Expose the full-backs

Manchester City's defensive weaknesses have been exposed time and time again this season. John Stones, a young defender still learning his craft, and Nicolás Otamendi have both had shaky spells during the campaign, but it's at full-back where the biggest problems lie.

Guardiola has used six different players at full-back this season. From experienced defenders like Bacary Sagna and Gaël Clichy to combative midfielder Fernandinho and inconsistent right winger Jesús Navas.

None have truly impressed, hence why Guardiola is constantly chopping and changing. Chelsea, and particularly Eden Hazard, can take advantage.

The Belgian winger, who has emerged as a Real Madrid transfer target, has thrived since Chelsea switched to a 3-4-3 formation.

He has been freed of defensive responsibility and is given a roaming role behind Diego Costa. That presents a problem for Guardiola, who tends to only use one defensively minded midfielder.

Hazard will start towards the left flank but, as the screen grabs demonstrate, he will often drift across to collect the ball.

Eden Hazard against Crystal Palace

Eden Hazard against Manchester United

Pedro or Willian perform a similar role on the opposite flank and Guardiola will have to decide if he wants his full-backs to follow their respective man across the pitch.

But if he does, then it would give Chelsea's wing-backs plenty of space to run into. Since the switch to 3-4-3 Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses have been exceptional.

Their energy and work-rate have been a big reason as to why Chelsea have established themselves at the top of the table. It's telling the first game Moses missed since Chelsea's switch to a back three, the Blue lost (the weekend defeat to Palace).

Moses will again be absent against City. That poses a problem for Chelsea and Conte as Pedro's defensive positioning was exposed by Wilfried Zaha on Saturday.

Conte's best bet, considering the threat of Sane, would be to move César Azpilicueta out to right wing-back and bring Kurt Zouma into the central trio.

It would disrupt a tried and tested back three but there is an argument to be made that sides have worked out how to expose the Chelsea defence. After all, they've now conceded a goal in each of their last seven Premier League games.

Exploit the space

Guardiola demonstrated once again at the the Emirates he isn't afraid to name a very attacking line–up away from home.

Navas, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Sane, Sterling and Sergio Agüero all started against Arsenal. Fernandinho was the only player in the front six who possess defensive instincts.

A similar set–up would play into Conte's hands. With only one screening player in front of the back four, Hazard and Pedro/Willian would be able to find space between the City midfield and defence.

Chelsea would be constantly able to build attacks, either from playing out from defence or winning the ball high up the pitch.

As the below screen grab shows, if City, and particularly Fernandinho, lose possession then their defence is just one pass from being immediately exposed.

Manchester City Monaco

It's why Guardiola may opt to name Yaya Toure alongside Fernandinho to provide his defence with more protection and cut the passing lanes.

But City have been at their scintillating best this season with De Bruyne and Silva playing between the lines.

Restricting either of the duo may not be a sacrifice Guardiola is willing to make.

Don't be afraid to give up possession

Chelsea fans, often under Jose Mourinho, have seen their side give up possession in order to win. That may prove to be the best strategy against City.

Guardiola's football philosophy doesn't change. He wants his team to attack and he wants his side to do it with the ball. It's certainly admirable.

But the Blues proved when they went to the Etihad earlier in the campaign that City can be at their most vulnerable when they're in possession. That day Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners despite being dominated for much of the match.

Willian, Costa and Hazard were all on the scoresheet. And the assist for each of their goals came from the Chelsea half.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHt9gFc_PP4

When City are in possession their defence push high upfield to help recycle possession and push the opposition back. But that obviously leaves Guardiola's side exposed to the counter attack and few sides have the same quality as Chelsea on the break.

The Blues have scored five goals from counter attacks, including two at the Etihad, this season – the highest in the Premier League.

However, with teams traditionally coming to Stamford Bridge and sitting deep, Chelsea haven't scored a goal on the break at home this season. That may change tomorrow night.

Read More: Chelsea face a tricky decision over Kurt Zouma's future

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