Prediction: Over 3.5 goals to be scored
Manchester City have another tough examination of their title credentials on Saturday afternoon as they come against another top-four outfit in the form of Chelsea at Etihad Stadium.
The two sides are sitting in the top four ahead of the match and a win in this game could put down a considerable marker to the rest of the division.
As Pep Guardiola continues his hunt for a third consecutive Premier League crown, it hasn’t quite been the season that Manchester City fans envisaged. Following their 3-1 loss at the hands of Liverpool before the international break, the reigning champions have now racked up three losses already this season, only one fewer than they suffered throughout the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign. They now sit fourth having been overtaken by Leicester City and this weekend’s opponents Chelsea and are nine points behind the table-topping Reds. Another defeat this weekend, whilst not ending their title challenge, would make it extremely difficult to claw back that particular deficit.
They are extremely strong at the Etihad though and that could give them some encouragement against Chelsea. Since Guardiola was appointed manager of the club during the 2016/17 season, City have only failed to score in five home games in all competitions, highlighting the immense firepower that they possess. It could well be a tough task for Chelsea to keep them out then.
Guardiola still has a few long-term injuries to concern himself with. Leroy Sane, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Aymeric Laporte are all amongst those ruled out. Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva is not eligible to play due to suspension. In better news however, goalkeeper Ederson could return to action having missed the last game against Liverpool.
Whilst Manchester City are not having the season most would be expecting, the same could be said for Chelsea but in a far more positive sense. Frank Lampard has led the Blues to third in the Premier League table having won their last league game 2-0 against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. As a matter of fact, Chelsea are in fantastic form in the league having not lost since a 2-1 reverse to Liverpool at the back end of September. Should they win this match, and results go for them this weekend, they could even occupy second – a position that most Chelsea fans would not have thought had been realistic ahead of the campaign.
Despite their young guns highly impressing in an attacking sense, it is their defence that has sometimes left them wanting. Lampard’s troops only have three clean sheets in the Premier League this season and have shipped 17 goals in 12 games – only Burnley have conceded more in the top-half of the table. That slight chink in their armour could become a massive weakness especially against one of the most prolific teams in English football.
Defender Antonio Rudiger remains injured for Chelsea so it is likely Fikayo Tomori, who made his England debut in the week, will continue in the heart of defence. Meanwhile, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still ruled out until mid-December. Christian Pulisic and Ross Barkley are set to be subjected to late fitness tests ahead of the match.
Key Facts To Consider
- Chelsea have a better head-to-head record between the two (W67, D39, L57)
- Manchester City won the last Premier League match between the two sides 6-0
- Chelsea have only won two out of their last ten games at the Etihad Stadium in all competitions
- Pep Guardiola has only ever lost one home game against Chelsea in his entire managerial career and that came in 2016
- Sergio Aguero has had a hand in 18 goals in his last 19 appearances against Chelsea (15 goals, three assists)
Whilst it is true Chelsea have a huge opportunity to put down a statement victory at the Etihad Stadium, the match is arguably more important for Manchester City if they want to stay in the title race. If the game was at Stamford Bridge, it could well have been a far more even contest but the champions should get their vital win, with Aguero likely to play a huge part in the opening goal.
Prediction: Over 3.5 goals to be scored
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!