Our English Premier League writer previews the mammoth clash between Man City and Chelsea.
Title contenders Manchester City and Chelsea will lock horns at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday in what looks a mouth-watering encounter. These sides are joint-favourites for the title at 2/1 at Hollywoodbets. Chelsea are on a run of seven straight league victories and have surged to the top of the table, while City sit just a single point back in third.
Manchester City v Chelsea | Saturday 3 December | Etihad Stadium | 14:30
To Win (90 Mins)
Man City 11/10 | Draw 5/2 | Chelsea 47/20
Manchester City come into this clash off a 2-1 victory away to Burnley thanks to a brace from Sergio Aguero, taking his league tally to 10 goals. That was City’s second straight league victory and their ninth after 13 matches. Pep Guardiola’s side are unbeaten in their last six league matches with three wins.
However, they’ve drawn their last three games at the Etihad Stadium against Everton, Southampton and Middlesbrough. They’ve kept just one clean sheet at home in the league this season which is a worry for Guardiola, especially as Chelsea have been free-scoring.
Guardiola has declared that Antonio Conte’s side are the team to beat in the Premier League. “We are going to play against the best team of this moment in the Premier League,” said the City manager. “They play amazing, just clean sheets. In the last five or six weeks they have played amazing – not just clean sheets but the way they play. “We have to try and discover his (Conte’s) secret and what we can do to beat him.”
With no UEFA Champions League action this week, Guardiola has a full week to prepare for Conte’s side. The Citizens are unbeaten in their last four league meetings against Chelsea with two wins, while they’ve won five of their last seven clashes at the Etihad Stadium, losing just once. The return of Yaya Toure to the first-team has given City a boost in midfield. Toure is a monster.
Strong, powerful and at his best when rampaging forward. Guardiola will recall the influential duo of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne back into the starting lineup. City’s chief creators will look to wreak havoc on Chelsea’s defence and create goalscoring opportunities for Aguero.
The Argentine has been in top form, scoring 10 goals while registering three assists. Chelsea’s back three will face a tough test against the league’s best striker. Guardiola has a near-fit squad apart from captain Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph, who are both ruled out with injuries.
Chelsea travel to the Etihad Stadium knowing a three-point haul would keep them at the table’s summit, and after winning their last seven successive league games, Conte’s men look capable of doing just that.
The Blues come off a 2-1 home triumph over Tottenham, inflicting Mauricio Pochettino’s side their first defeat of the season. The Blues will be hoping to continue their hot streak against the Citizens and victory over Guardiola’s side at the Etihad would be just about the biggest statement they could make.
Conte is the first Chelsea manager to win seven consecutive Premier League games in a single season since Jose Mourinho (nine in 06/07). The Italian has a made Chelsea are a force to be reckoned with and his switch to a 3-4-3 formation has seen the Blues score 19 goals while conceding just once.
Conte has got Chelsea back to their best this season and has been able to get the best out of his star players – many of whom were out-of-sorts under Jose Mourinho last term. Almost every other day, there is a Chelsea player speaking in the media about their new boss and how they enjoy working with him. It appears Conte has won over the dressing room quite quickly.
Victor Moses has had a massive impact in the Blues’ season thus far. The Nigerian winger – who scored the winner against Spurs last weekend – gives Chelsea pure power, speed and work ethic. Nemanja Matic is another player who has benefitted from the new Italian manager. Playing higher up the pitch, in front of N’Golo Kante in a box-to-box role, the 28-year-old excel has recorded six assists this season.
Conte has also brought the best out of Pedro, who had struggled at Chelsea after his move from Barcelona, while Diego Costa is a warrior whose eyes are now right on the ball rather than opponents. The Brazilian-born Spain international has scored 10 goals in 13 league appearances for Chelsea this season – he scored 12 in total in the league last campaign. In team news, captain John Terry will miss the clash through injury, with Kurt Zouma expected to take his place on the bench.
Verdict: Chelsea Win/Draw Double Chance (7/10)
Chelsea are in top form with seven wins on the spin, scoring 19 goals and conceding once. Meanwhile, Manchester City have drawn their last three home games while they’ve kept just one clean sheet at the Etihad from six games. I’m backing Chelsea on the win/draw Double Chance at 7/10.
Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets