Chelsea are gearing up for the biggest game of the Premier League season so far on Saturday, with two title contenders going head to head. The Blues are aiming to lay down a marker in their push to retain the title. While the Blues have picked up some impressive results of late, the main focus of the title battle is on Manchester right now, with City starting the season in impressive form. Meanwhile, Manchester United sit level with them on 16 points, and they’ll be looking to take advantage of this huge meeting at the weekend.
Can Chelsea match up to City and their array of technical talents? The visitors are playing some brilliant football, but can they repeat that in their biggest test so far? They may have blown away Liverpool, but City are going to find a much more organised team here, and Pep Guardiola knows that too well. The City boss has a lot of respect and a little bit of fear for Antonio Conte. Can the Italian play on that when these two meet at Stamford Bridge?
Team News: Could Conte go defensive ahead of this challenge?
Chelsea could well go with the 3-5-1-1 they used so well against Tottenham here, as the formation really worked in their clash at Wembley. Packing the midfield like that was an impressive trick, the only issue is that David Luiz can’t step in to that midfield role due to suspension. We could still see the Italian flooding the midfield, while all his talk about Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard forming a partnership could hint that those two will be starting up top together as the champions’ only forwards.
Manchester City’s squad depth means it’s hard to predict their midfield, but Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are both likely to feature up front. The pair have been in brilliant form together, so they’re likely to link up in attack once again. Benjamin Mendy is set to miss out after picking up an injury in midweek, while the Blues are set to face former player Kevin De Bruyne.
Man City Form
Manchester City’s incredible scoring streak came to an abrupt end in midweek, as they faced Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. While City won 2-0, they wasted plenty of chances in that one and were really made to work for the victory. They didn’t find as many openings as usual, while their forwards weren’t quite at the races.
Of course, before that result City had just scored five goals for the third successive Premier League game. That’s a scary record to have, and it’s something Conte will have to find a way to deal with ahead of this crunch clash. However, City weren’t great in big matches last term, winning just two of 12 meetings with the top seven, so that could leave them vulnerable.
Chelsea v Man City Head to Head
Chelsea’s recent record against Manchester City is a little mixed, but it does include home and away victories last season. The Citizens got the better of the two sides in 2015/16, although an FA Cup win for the Blues over City’s reserves was sandwiched in between those defeats. After getting the better of Guardiola twice last season, can Conte repeat the trick at the Bridge this week?
- Chelsea 2-1 Man City, Apr 2017
- Man City 1-3 Chelsea, Dec 2016
- Chelsea 0-3 Man City, Apr 2016
- Chelsea 5-1 Man City, Feb 2016
- Man City 3-0 Chelsea, Aug 2015
- Both teams to score – 4/7 with Ladbrokes
- Over 1.5 Chelsea goals – 5/4 with Coral
While Chelsea are at home, Manchester City come to Stamford Bridge as favourites this weekend. The Citizens have been made 6/4 favourites with Betfred, while you can back the hosts at 15/8 with BetVictor. Betfair have priced the draw out at 12/5 this weekend, but surely this will be a close game.
After casting an eye over the markets and prices, it’s very clear that the bookmakers are expecting a high scoring tie this weekend. Given the form they’re both in coming into this match, we can see why. Not only are City playing some breath-taking stuff, Chelsea have the in-form Morata leading the line in this one, with the champions finally starting to click together this term.
The issue for Chelsea here is the fact that they managed just one clean sheet against the top six in 10 meetings last term. Manchester City aren’t exactly great at the back either, they had the same record against the league’s elite. The Blues are likely to concede to a side who have so many options to choose from up front, but this isn’t going to be the walkover some are predicting for City.
The visitors conceded chances to poor sides of late, just making it through because their opponents were unable to finish. Chelsea are in clinical form and they will take opportunities that come their way, so we see the hosts getting a goal. We’re backing both teams to score in this clash, which is priced at 4/7 with Ladbrokes.
While we see both teams scoring, we actually think Chelsea can find the net more than once. The Blues only failed to score two or more in three of their 19 home matches last term. With 12 goals in six Premier League matches this term, the Blues are in excellent scoring form going in to this meeting with City. The visitors were really poor on their travels last term when it came to the top sides, losing at all of their top four rivals, taking just four points from a possible 18 at the top seven. We can see City slipping up at the back to top class opposition once again, with over 1.5 goals for the hosts looking like great value at 5/4 with Coral.