A Top of the Table Clash as City Host Chelsea

Last updated: December 1, 2016 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Saturday, 12.30pm
Venue: Etihad
Coverage: Sky Sports 1
Home form: DWDWW
Away form: WWWWW
Last season: Man City 3 – 0 Chelsea
Competition: The Premier League

With the Premier League’s joint top scorers – Sergio Agüero and Diego Costa – both featuring on opposing sides, the weekend could start with a bang, as Saturday’s early kick off sees third placed Manchester City take on league leaders Chelsea. City sit just a point off Chelsea and a win would see them leapfrog the Blues to the top of the table. Both teams have form going into this game; City are unbeaten in six while Chelsea will be looking to make it eight wins in a row.

This is a vital match if City want to win the title this year. A loss would see Chelsea pull to four points in front of the Citizens. City are unbeaten at home in the league though, but that perhaps flatters their home form a little. They’ve won just three home matches and kept just one clean sheet at the Etihad. Adding to that tally will require new levels of organisation in defence, so it’s likely that we will see John Stones returned to the starting lineup. Kevin de Bruyne too should return, while it will be interesting to see if Pep trusts Yaya Toure to start his third match in a row. From the team sheet to the final result, it appears anything could happen here.

Chelsea’s winning streak has been impressive, but the grit and determination shown by coming from behind in last week’s win against Tottenham displayed a different side to their game, one which is essential if the team are to be crowned champions. The Blues are proving incredibly tough to beat, with just one goal conceeded in 7 matches. Tactical nous could be the deciding factor in this match, but with Conte’s team and formation apparently working perfectly, it’s unlikely the Italian will change anything.

Team News

Vincent Kompany hobbled off the field shortly after his return yet again last week. Guardiola will be without the defender until around mid January. Raheem Sterling is the only new injury doubt after picking up a knock

Pep has an almost full strength squad to choose from then and his recent penchant for rotation could be set to continue. Kevin de Bruyne especially will be expected to return to the starting 11, while David Silva and Ilkay Gündogan will also be hopeful.

John Terry picked up a glute injury and will be sidelined for some weeks. Kurt Zouma is nearing a return as he builds up his match fitness.

Other than those, Chelsea too have a pretty much full strength squad to choose from. Willian is pushing for a return to the starting 11 in midfield, but Antonio Conte will be reluctant to drop either Pedro or Moses, who have been in fine form recently.

Expected line-ups:

Man City (4-2-3-1): Bravo, Sagna, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva, De Bruyne, Nolito, Agüero
Subs: Caballero, Clichy, Sterling, Gündogan, Sané, Iheanacho, Zabaleta
Injured: Kompany, Delph
Doubtful: Sterling
Not available:
Chelsea (3-2-4-1): Courtois, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill, Moses, Kanté, Matic, Alonso, Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard
Subs: Begovic, Ivanovic, Fàbregas, Oscar, Willian, Batshuayi, Chalobah
Injured: Terry, Mikel
Doubtful: Zouma
Not available:

So far this season

. . .
Manchester City this season Chelsea this season
3rd League Position 1st
3 (6) (at home) Wins (away) 6 (4)
4-0 vs. Bournemouth Biggest win 5-0 vs. Everton
3 (0) (at home) Draws (away) 0 (1)
0-2 vs. Tottenham Biggest Defeat 0-3 vs. Arsenal
Sergio Agüero (10) Top scorer Diego Costa (10)
Kevin de Bruyne (7) Assist Leader Nemanja Matic (6)
Y27, R1 Discipline Y28, R0
1 Failures to score 1
2 Clean Sheets 7
10 Both Teams to Score Games 5
9 Over 2.5 Games 10
4 Under 2.5 Games 3
  • City are unbeaten since their defeat away at Tottenham, though they have had a kind run since then, facing just one team from the top eight. This will be the Citizen’s toughest test of the season.
  • Chelsea sit on top of the table for the second week running after an impressive display against Tottenham last week. The Blues lost their incredible run of clean sheets, but maintained their winning streak, making it seven wins in a row.
  • Interestingly, City’s form at home is poor. They have won just 3 matches at home, compared to 6 away, and drawn 3 compared to 0 draws away from home. They have also managed just one shut out in front of their own supporters.
  • Chelsea only failed to find the net away from home once, in a particularly poor showing against Arsenal. With City’s poor defensive record and the scoring form of Costa, Hazard and Pedro, this looks unlikely to repeat itself here.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
16/04/2016 Premier League Chelsea 0 – 3 Manchester City Agüero 33′
21/02/2016 FA Cup Chelsea 5 – 1 Manchester City Costa 35
16/08/2015 Premier League Manchester City 3 – 0 Chelsea Agüero 31′
31/01/2015 Premier League Chelsea 1 – 1 Manchester City Remy 41′
21/09/2014 Premier League Manchester City 1 – 1 Chelsea Schürrle 71′

Conclusion & Betting Tips

This is an incredibly difficult one to call. Man City are the bookie’s favourites, with home advantage seemingly playing a large role in this reasoning. While not really his ideal style, Guardiola may be thinking that City need to outscore Chelsea if they are to snatch victory. Despite Chelsea’s incredible defensive record, we do expect there to be goals in this one. City have two clean sheets all season, so it’s hard to see Chelsea not finding the net at least once. With Costa, Hazard and Agüero all featuring, we fancy goals and over 2.5 goals at 8/11 at bet365 is as good a bet as any here.