EPL: Chelsea vs Manchester City Preview

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We preview this weekend's headline EPL clash which sees free-scoring Machester City travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea. 

The Citizens are top of the table on goal difference, above rivals Manchester United, while the Blues are three points behind.

Antonio Conte’s men completed the league double over Pep Guardiola’s side last season, winning 3-1 at the Etihad before claiming a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge. It was the first time that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss had lost two league games in the same season to a rival.

Chelsea vs Manchester City | Saturday 30 September | Stamford Bridge, London | 18:30

To Win Match
Chelsea 7/4 | Draw 49/20 | Man City 29/20

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Chelsea
Chelsea are unbeaten since their surprising 3-2 home defeat to Burnley on the opening day of the season. Since then, Conte's men have gone unbeaten in the league with four wins from their last five matches. An impressive 2-1 victory against Tottenham at Wembley Stadium followed with a 2-0 home win over Everton and 2-1 triumph at Leicester City. The Blues were then held to a goalless draw by Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, but the champions returned to winning ways last weekend with an impressive 4-0 win at Stoke thanks to an Alvaro Morata masterclass.

The Spain international netted a hat-trick to take his tally to six goals for the season, level with Romelu Lukaku and Sergio Aguero. It was a brilliant performance from the 24-year-old that came in the same week that Chelsea agreed to sell Diego Costa back to Atletico Madrid. Morata is showing that Conte was right to trust him with succeeding Costa and the ex-Real Madrid star will be keen to get on the scoresheet against Guardiola’s side. Morata came up against the Citizens two years ago in the UEFA Champions League when he was on loan at Juventus, netting the winner in a 2-1 triumph at the Etihad.

Another positive for Conte in the emphatic win at Stoke was the performance of Andreas Christensen. The Danish defender was rock-solid alongside Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta in David Luiz’s absence. Christensen has made seven appearances for the Blues this season, showing his dominance in the air, composure on the ground and superb defensive intelligence. It will be a big test for him against City’s deadly attack, but Christensen has Conte’s trust.

Eden Hazard is in line to make his first Premier League start against City on Saturday. The Belgian superstar has been eased back into action after surgery on his right ankle. He was on the substitutes’ bench against Mark Hughes’ men last weekend, but Conte brought him on for the final 18 minutes. A link-up between Morata and Hazard could be very good for Chelsea this season.



Manchester City
Manchester City have been in scintillating form this season. Guardiola's side have won five of their six matches played, scoring 21 goals while conceding just two. The Citizens got their campaign off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory over newly-promoted Brighton at the Amex Stadium. But they were held to a 1-1 draw against Everton in their first home game of the season.

Guardiola's side bounced back with impressive wins over Bournemouth (1-2), Liverpool (5-0), Watford (0-6) and Crystal Palace (5-0). They became the first English top-flight side since Blackburn Rovers in 1958-59 to score five or more goals in three consecutive matches.

The intensity of City's performances and the regularity of their goal-scoring this season is quite breath-taking. Defences are running scared at the moment and with an attacking force including Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane, it’s easy to see why. The depth of talent in the squad is simply sensational, with the likes of Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling being forced to fight for minutes.

The scoring pace of City has overshadowed their solid play on defence. While Guardiola's side have been deadly in attack, they have been just as solid at the other end of the pitch. The figure two in the goals against column matches Manchester United and is not bettered in the rest of the division. There is real belief that this season City can make up for all the disappointments of the last 12 months and deliver on multiple fronts.

Prediction: Chelsea Win/Draw 5/10
A lively contest appears on the horizon and there is every chance both teams will score in the Stamford Bridge showdown. Chelsea completed the league double over City last season and are incredibly tough to beat on their turf. City have been rampant, scoring goals at will, but they’ll face their toughest test so far against the champions. With home advantage, I’m tipping Conte’s men on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 5/10.


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