Manchester City are sweating on the fitness of five senior players as they prepare to revert to Plan A at Stamford Bridge this Saturday lunchtime (12.30pm).
Having coasted to a third Premier League title in four seasons, Pep Guardiola and his star-studded City team have started the 2021/2022 campaign with three victories and a draw from their opening five matches.
However, the impending showdown in West London marks a step up in class for Jack Grealish and co.
A goal and two assists for returning England playmaker Phil Foden was the highlight for City during their midweek victory over Wycombe Wanderers in the Carabao Cup.
It was a third round encounter, though, which saw Guardiola missing five senior players through injury.
Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, John Stones and Aleks Zinchenko were absent with a variety of issues - and the City manager chose to keep his cards close to his chest when pressed on their condition during his latest pre-match press conference.
Nathan Ake is a prime candidate to start if Laporte and Stones are deemed not fit enough to return, with Ake and Ruben Dias set to be flanked by Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo in defence.
In attacking quarters, things might get a little more tricky for the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach.
Kevin de Bruyne is poised to make his first start of the Premier League season, while Foden sent Guardiola a timely reminder of his talents during that 6-1 demolition against League One opposition.
Grealish has been a go-to option on the back of his £100million switch from Aston Villa, while the club's failure to replace Sergio Aguero with Tottenham striker Harry Kane - amid THE summer transfer saga - has provided chances for Ferran Torres to lead the line.
But will the Spaniard be assigned that task, once again, against fellow title contenders Chelsea?
City predicted line-up vs Chelsea: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Ake; Cancelo; de Bruyne, Fernandinho, Foden; Mahrez, Torres, Grealish.
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