A Top of the Table Clash as City Host Chelsea
Last updated: December 1, 2016 by Leon Marshal
|Coverage:||Sky Sports 1|
|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.
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.
|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|
|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|
So far this season
|Manchester City this season||Chelsea this season|
|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|
|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.