Chelsea’s hopes of winning the Premier League suffered a blow in a 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace at the weekend. The Blues were given plenty of time to claw back that disadvantage, but they failed to break through Sam Allardyce’s well organised side. They have a quick opportunity to bounce back, and this time they aren’t up against what would be described as an organised defence. Manchester City, fresh from drawing 2-2 at Arsenal on Sunday, are the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Will they make it back to back defeats for Antonio Conte?
These are two sides who aren’t exactly keen on each other, as shown by the scenes towards the end of their first encounter this season. There’s still a chance that Chelsea could meet City in the FA Cup final, so this might not be their final clash of the campaign. However, this match is crucial for Conte and his team, they can’t allow Tottenham to move within four points of top spot. Can the Blues complete a double over City?
Team News: Will Conte ring the changes after Palace shock?
The slip up against Palace has probably raised quite a few questions for Conte ahead of this game. The Italian said he thought his side deserved a draw, but even that wouldn’t be enough to keep the former Juve boss happy. He’ll have demanded answers, and he could make a few changes after keeping a mostly settled side this term. Victor Moses should recover to reclaim his spot at right wing-back. One of N’Golo Kante, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas should drop out, with the Serbian seriously underperforming against Palace.
Pep Guardiola is making odd team selections a routine these days. His choice of Jesus Navas at right-back must be something Blues fans are desperate to see repeated. Eden Hazard going up against Navas would certainly be entertaining. City lined up with an impressive front four at the Emirates, with David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane in support of Sergio Aguero. That attack would certainly cause problems for the Chelsea back three.
Manchester City Form
Manchester City find themselves fourth in the table, certainly not where they expected to be under Pep Guardiola. They come into this game having won just one of their last five, which was an FA Cup win over Middlesbrough. In that time they crashed out of the Champions League, while the Citizens have slipped up in crucial games against their rivals for a spot in the top four. Will this be another tough game for them against a top side?
City have managed just one victory from their last nine matches against sides in the top seven of the Premier League. While they beat Arsenal at home in December, their five matches since against top sides have seen them claim just three points. That’s hardly the kind of record City would have expected when they splashed out on Guardiola, and when they basically gave him a blank cheque to remodel the squad.
While he has long term ambitions, it’s those kinds of matches which really test his abilities as a manager. Going into this meeting with the best side in the Premier League, there’s little hope for them turning around that rotten run of form any time soon. To make matters worse, this is their penultimate meeting with one of the top sides in England this season in the league.
Chelsea v Manchester City Head to Head
Chelsea struck a huge blow to Pep Guardiola’s side in a fiery 3-1 victory at the Etihad. That was a key moment in the Blues’ brilliant run of form earlier in the season, while City clearly cracked in that loss. They had two players sent off late on in that defeat, just how is that going to affect them ahead of this trip to the Bridge?
- Manchester City 1-3 Chelsea, Dec 2016
- Chelsea 0-3 Manchester City, Apr 2016
- Chelsea 5-1 Manchester City, Feb 2016
- Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea, Aug 2015
- Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City, Jan 2015
- Diego Costa to score – evens with Coral
- Chelsea to win – 7/5 with BetVictor
Chelsea will surely take confidence from City’s awful record in big games, with Guardiola’s side clearly lacking something to get them over the line. It wasn’t too long ago when people were saying that Conte’s side were unable to claim big results. Their win at City changed all that, and Chelsea will be hoping to see off the Citizens once again and get their season back on track. After all, the Blues have won 86% of their home matches in the league so far.
City are going to be relying on Sergio Aguero here, a man who has suddenly hit form, but the Blues have their own leading man up front. Diego Costa has been in excellent shape all season, and he will be aiming to add to his strike against the Citizens at the Etihad earlier this season. When you look at the problems City have been having at the back, it’s hard to see the Spanish forward not getting a chance to add to his goal tally for the season. Despite that, Costa is priced at evens with Coral to score any time, which seems like great value.
Given City’s poor record in big games, we’re siding with the leaders to bounce back this weekend. Barring last season, Chelsea have always been a team who can bounce back after a shocking defeat like that. It’s a quality which helped them to numerous trophies in the past, and it might just seal the Premier League title if they can see off City. Given their excellent home record, and the fact that City have one point from their last four away to top seven sides, we like the look of a home win at 7/5 with BetVictor.