Chelsea are back in Premier League action this weekend, as they prepare for a trip to leaders Man City. The English champions are facing the side who are set to dethrone them at the summit, with Pep Guardiola’s side now 16 points clear of second placed Manchester United following a midweek win over Arsenal. The Citizens are a full 22 points clear of Chelsea, who have now slipped out of the top four following a defeat in Manchester last weekend. Can the Blues boost their Champions League hopes with an unlikely victory on Sunday?
Antonio Conte has a tough job to stop this City side, especially given how well they’ve played over the last couple of games. Managing to shut down this City team is something which seems almost impossible on current form, while the hosts can’t stop scoring. While there’s basically nothing but time between the leaders and the league title, the Blues are facing huge opposition for a top four finish in the Premier League. After losing to Man United, falling behind Liverpool and now Tottenham, Chelsea have surrendered so much to their rivals that fighting their way back into fourth is set to be an uphill battle.
Team News: How Will Conte Plan to Stop City?
The big question here isn’t around player selection, but with regard to Conte’s tactics. The Blues boss tried to combat City with a five man midfield at the Bridge, which couldn’t match up to the Citizens’ technical skill. However, a high intensity 3-4-3 did push Barcelona in the Champions League. Will Conte take a risk with that system, especially after it started so well at Old Trafford last weekend? We expect him to start with that usual set-up, without a huge number of changes from the team which lost at Old Trafford last time out.
Man City tend to line up with a 4-3-3, and they’re playing with David Silva in a central midfield role in order to fit an extra name in the front three. They did that in two meetings with Arsenal, but they may choose to change ahead of a likely battle with Chelsea in this clash. The Blues should pose a more physical threat, so City could react to that. The hosts are without Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling, while Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy remain long-term absentees.
Man City Form
Man City continued their great run with a 3-0 win over Arsenal on Thursday night. That was their second win by that scoreline over the Gunners in the space of days, following a win at Wembley in the EFL Cup final. Having won the first silverware of the season last weekend, they should be in great form going into this clash. They’ll be looking to keep that momentum going in this meeting with the champions, as they look to wrap up the title as soon as possible.
City are impressing at home, having won all but one of their league matches at the Etihad so far. They’ve won 13 matches on the spin there, heading into this meeting with the Blues. Will Antonio Conte’s side be able to break that run, or can City extend that fantastic run of results? Having scored at least twice across all of those wins, the hosts are going to be really difficult to stop.
Man City v Chelsea Head to Head
Chelsea have a mixed record away at the Etihad in recent years, but most of their recent meetings have been at Stamford Bridge. The Blues lost the reverse fixture earlier this term, while they have lost three of their last six trips to City. The 3-1 win which the Blues picked up last season was followed by a home win, but the victory for Pep’s men earlier this term showed how the dynamic has changed between these two.
- Chelsea 0-1 Man City, Sep 2017
- 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
- Over 2.5 Goals – 7/10 with BetVictor
- Sergio Aguero to score – 21/20 with Ladbrokes
Chelsea are massive outsiders coming into this trip to the Etihad. The Blues are priced at 21/5 with Coral to claim another win at this ground, while City are priced at just 13/20 with Betfred to make this their 14th straight Premier League victory at this stadium. Meanwhile, the draw can be backed at 31/10 with BetVictor. The Blues are looking to follow up their 3-1 win at this ground last season, with a repeat of that scoreline incredibly priced at massive odds of 40/1 with Betfair.
We do expect another high scoring game on Sunday, although it is more likely to go in City’s favour on current form. The Blues did make a strong start at Old Trafford last weekend, but their inexperienced defence couldn’t hold the Red Devils at bay. That doesn’t bode well for this meeting with City, who have been scoring goals for fun at their own ground. The Citizens have seen over 2.5 goals land in their last 13 home matches in the league, while the Blues have averaged close to two goals per game on the road. On the back of that, we should see plenty of goals here, with over 2.5 priced at 7/10 with BetVictor.
One man who is likely to get in on the scoring is Sergio Aguero, with the forward scoring 10 times in 15 clashes with Chelsea. The Argentine has 21 goals in 21 league starts, and we expect him to hit the target against the Blues on Sunday. Despite his impressive form and great track record against Chelsea, Aguero can be backed at 21/20 with Ladbrokes to score any time in this weekend’s big game. With a high scoring game likely, we’re tipping him to get one of the goals at the Etihad.