Fabregas, who played under City manager Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, came in for Nemanja Matic, who was left out of Chelsea's squad due to what Conte said was a "little muscular problem".

Fabregas last featured in Chelsea's 3-0 defeat at Arsenal on September 24, when his 55th-minute withdrawal prompted the switch to a back three that has seen Conte's side mount a seven-game winning run.

Guardiola made six changes to his starting XI at the Etihad Stadium, mirroring Chelsea's defensive configuration by switching to an ultra-attacking 3-2-4-1 system.

John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan, Jesus Navas, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane replaced Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Fernando, Raheem Sterling, Yaya Toure and Nolito.

England winger Sterling, who sustained a bang to the knee during City's 2-1 win at Burnley last weekend, was not included in the squad.

Chelsea go into the game a point clear of third-place City at the top of the table.