Man City host Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday. The hosts can open up a 13-point lead to Thomas Tuchel’s Blues with a victory, almost certainly ending their title hopes once and for all. Pep Guardiola’s side has won 11 consecutive league matches and goes into this one as favourites having won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in September.
Man City Form
City is in imperious form. Since a shock 2-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace in late October, they’ve responded with 11 league wins in a row. That streak has seen 34 goals scored and just seven goals conceded.
A 7-0 humbling of Leeds was followed by cruising to a 4-0 win at Newcastle. They then thrashed Leicester 6-3 (having led 4-0) before a narrow 1-0 win at Brentford thanks to Phil Foden’s winner. Their most recent league match saw an injury-time winner take a 2-1 victory at Arsenal. City beat Swindon Town 4-1 away in the FA Cup last weekend.
Man City Team News
Aside from Ederson, City played their strongest available lineup against Swindon in the FA Cup. Riyad Mahrez is away at the AFCON and City has three COVID-19 cases in Raheem Sterling, Oleks Zinchenko, and Phil Foden – it’s not clear which of them will return but all three could be back if they’ve tested negative.
John Stones has a knock so Nathan Ake could start centrally although Aymeric Laporte is another option. Cole Palmer was outstanding against Swindon and could be set to get more minutes in this match.
Man City Motivation
City will play to control the match and dominate possession. They have had a full week to prepare so complete focus and motivation can be applied to this one.
A win would be a huge result and will feel like confirmation of them retaining their title. A draw would be a reasonably decent result although it could allow Liverpool to move nine points behind with a game in hand.
Chelsea has lost just once in 24 matches in all competitions. Since losing 1-0 to City in September, it’s just a single defeat in 15 in the league but five home draws in that time have proven very damaging. The Blues have also kept just one clean sheet in their last nine in the PL.
After fighting back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home with Liverpool, Chelsea cruised 2-0 past Tottenham in the League Cup semi-final first leg. A 5-1 win against Chesterfield followed before a 1-0 away win at Spurs in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi.
Chelsea Team News
Tuchel remains without first-choice wingbacks, Ben Chilwell and Reece James. He could recall Marcos Alonso and Thiago Silva and go to a back five for this match, or continue with a back four with Malang Sarr at left-back.
N’Golo Kante is fit and available and should start this match. In attack, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic are fresh and are pushing to start this match.
The Blues have to win this match to have a realistic shot at the title. Tuchel beat Man City three times last season but his side only produced 0.2 xG in September’s tepid home defeat.
Chelsea could go with Havertz upfront and have Romelu Lukaku on the bench to change the game in the final 20 minutes.
City have won 11 PL matches in a row
Man City have the PL’s best attack and best defensive record
City’s De Bruyne has 3 goals in his last 4 PL matches against CFC
Chelsea have lost 1 of their 24 matches in all comps
CFC have lost 1 of their last 15 PL matches (D6)
Chelsea have kept 1 clean sheet in their last 9 PL matches
3 of the last 4 meetings between these sides has seen under 1.5 goals
A tight match is predicted in the early kick-off. City are fresher having not played in midweek and it’s hard to see them being beaten by Chelsea. A low-scoring affair looks the best bet for this one.
Best Bet: Both teams to score – NO at 2.10
Alternative Bet. Under 1.5 goals at 2.95
Value Bet: Man City win and under 3.5 goals at 2.45
Correct Score Tip: Man City 1-0 Chelsea at 7.25