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Champions League dress rehearsal: Manchester City vs Chelsea

Man City and Chelsea meet at the Etihad Stadium this Saturday evening to lock horns in a high-quality Premier League clash

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Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Champions League finalists, Manchester City and Chelsea meet at the Etihad Stadium this Saturday evening to lock horns in a high-quality Premier League clash.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

The Citizens look to march on gloriously to their third league title in four seasons under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola with victory guaranteeing that the prestigious trophy will be adorned with Sky-Blue ribbons, leaving second-placed Manchester United on the verge of being mathematically ruled out of the running.

However, Chelsea have infamously made a habit of having the final say in the title-race in recent campaigns. When the Blues aren’t celebrating winning the coveted prize themselves, they initiate celebrations of the eventual winners by damaging a title-chasing teams’ chances, most notably the party at Jamie Vardy’s home in Leicester’s win as well as Liverpool’s celebrations last season.

We are certainly in for a cracking match of football between the two sides who will meet in this season’s Champions League final.

To Win Match

Man City 8/10
Draw 5/2
Chelsea 7/2

Chelsea

Firstly, I’m not a Blue, but I correctly predicted Thomas Tuchel earning his first-ever win over Guardiola as Chelsea To Qualify came home flying at 2/1 odds, just three short weeks ago in issue #553 of Soccer Betting News.

Secondly, the victory was fully deserved with in-form Christian Pulisic coming close on a few occasions but Timo Werner directly attacking City’s defence at top speed was too much to contain. Hakim Ziyech, renowned for his gem of a left foot, had a simple left-footed tap-in that he duly converted to decide the contest in the FA Cup.

Overall, the Blues impressed immensely in the previous encounter. The squad now fully understands the methods and tactics brought about from the arrival of their German mentor, coupled with the belief that Tuchel has instilled in his players..

Not that anyone has to remind N’Golo Kante that he’s undoubtedly the best defensive midfielder in the world for the qualities he brings to the team, The Frenchman put on a brilliant performance in Real Madrid’s backyard that surely set the record straight to all of his doubters.

There are four crucial Premier League games that Chelsea have left following this match. The Blues host both Arsenal and Leicester City before travelling to Villa Park on the final day.

Along with Kante, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has to maintain his top form to claim maximum points. The Senegalese shot-stopper is enjoying one of the best starts to a career in English football, successfully keeping 16 clean sheets from 30 league starts.

Manchester City

It would be very foolish to take a team like Chelsea for granted and surely there would’ve been lessons learned from City’s failure in the FA Cup semi-final. However, the Citizens will want to get this one over with as soon as possible.

Interestingly, these teams will meet once more in the Champions League final. Guardiola will want to take three points from this matchup so his team can put their full focus on winning the Champions League.

City have been in sensational form on their travels, winning 19 of their last 20 games, only suffering defeat to Chelsea at Wembley. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus were both named in the starting XI last weekend against Crystal Palace which came as a surprise to many, seeing as Guardiola has adopted a system of playing with a false nine in recent weeks.

The only goalkeeper to have kept more clean sheets than Chelsea’s Mendy (16), is City’s Ederson (18) and the Brazilian shot-stopper will reclaim his place in the team after missing out to Zack Steffen in the FA Cup defeat.

The Brazilian has world-class defenders protecting him, namely Ruben Dias, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte that have essentially built an axis for the rest of the team to play from. Two centre-backs start, having the luxury of another resting on the bench with Ederson in goal and Rodri playing in the deeper-lying midfield role.

Probable line-ups:

Chelsea: 3-4-2-1
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz.

Manchester City: 4-3-3
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Silva, Foden.

Prediction: (21/20) Home No Bet – Chelsea Win

These teams have proven that they’re among the cream of the crop against the best opposition and it will be very difficult to separate them. I’ve found an option that could potentially make us some extra cash at decent value. I suggest going into the Home No Bet market and selecting Chelsea win. If the game ends in a stalemate, you would’ve lost your stake, while a home win would mean getting your initial stake returned to you.

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