26th October 2013
Pre-season title favourites Chelsea and Manchester City square off at Stamford Bridge looking to stay close to league leaders Arsenal who will have probably added three more points to their tally by the time this match kicks off. With both sides going into the crunch tie in confident mood, chances are we will see a good game of football in London.
The return of Jose Mourinho and arrival of several quality players turned Chelsea into pre-season favourites for the Premier League title, but the Blues surprisingly experienced all sorts of problems in the opening exchanges. While they were very fortunate to avoid defeat at Old Trafford, the Blues were pipped by Bayern Munich to the UEFA Super Cup before suffering defeats to Everton and Basel. With all three strikers completely out of form, the Blues were largely struggling up front, although they have since managed to return to the right track, but no thanks to Eto’o, Torres and Ba. Chelsea picked up ten points from next four league matches to climb to second in the Premier League standings, but with the three strikers scoring just one league goal between them, it looks as though Mourinho will have to sign a world-class forward in January if his team were to have any chance of winning the title. The brace scored by Fernando Torres in the Champions League clash against Schalke should give the Special One a real selection headache before the Manchester City clash, although it is attacking midfielders Oscar and Hazard that are likely to prove a much bigger threat for the opposition defence. With Ashley Cole returning to the side, there are no worries for the hosts.
And while Manchester City sit one point behind their next opponents in the standings, the general impression is they have been much more convincing than Chelsea this term. The lack of consistency is hardly surprising considering the changes to playing and coaching personnel, and the Citizens could have definitely done without setbacks against Cardiff City and Aston Villa. However, they have been clearly raising their form of late and finally look like genuine title contenders. Victories over Everton, West Ham and CSKA Moscow showed just how badly David Silva had been missed, and no doubt he will be the man to watch in Sunday’s clash with Chelsea. With Sergio Aguero also in scintillating form, the Citizens look they can continue the impressive run of results at Stamford Bridge, even if it has been revealed that Vincent Kompany will not be returning into action this weekend. All other players are fit to play, with Gael Clichy likely to be recalled after he was rested in the midweek win over CSKA Moscow.
Despite winning their last four matches, it is clear Chelsea are still searching for form, with Torres and Eto’o usually going missing in big games. Meanwhile, City appear to be on top of their game at the moment, mostly thanks to David Silva, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero pulling the strings.
Verdict: Man City with +0.25 Asian handicap
Best Odds: 17/20