Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Chelsea
Venue: Etihad Stadium – Saturday, December 3 – 12:30 GMT (07:30 ET)
Match Odds: Manchester City 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Chelsea 12/5
Pep Guardiola’s side trail league leaders Chelsea by just one point ahead of this tie and just three points separate the top four. This is a crunch game for City, who need to make sure they win and put an end to Chelsea’s winning run.
City come into the game having come from behind to beat Burnley in a scrappy game that showed their resilience to win, something they’ll need to show once again here.
While many are saying it is too early for results to impact the race for the title, a loss for City here could be disastrous for the squad mentally. Guardiola has experience coaching against Chelsea and will know his side are up against a team that never know when they’re beat.
Chelsea are the inform team in the Premier League. They have won seven in row, conceding just once and scoring 19.
Antonio Conte is pleased with his side, especially the spirit they showed to come from behind to beat Spurs last weekend. Many have questioned whether or not going behind would upset the balance for Chelsea in their unbeaten run, but they proved they are capable of turning a game in their favour.
Chelsea have struggled at the Etihad, they have won just once in their last eight visits in all competitions and, like practically every Premier League club, have constantly been on the receiving end of a Sergio Aguero masterclass.
This a game Chelsea have to avoid defeat in. It will put them in a really good position for their upcoming December fixtures, while no league game is easy, they have some favourable games over the Christmas period and could capitalise on that to give themselves some cushioning at the top.
Vincent Kompany remains out for Manchester City, while there are concerns about Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling, who are both doubts.
Chelsea are expected to remain unchanged for the eighth game in a row. John Terry will be out, while Kurt Zouma and Marco van Ginkel are not yet ready to be considered for selection. Diego Costa is one yellow card away from a one-game ban, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he picks that up here given the intensity of this tie.
Manchester City’s form: D/W/D/W/W
Chelsea’s form: W/W/W/W/W
Key Stat: Chelsea have conceded just once in their seven-game winning streak.
Key Player: Thibaut Courtois – This is easily the biggest challenge of the season for the Chelsea backline. They have been performing very well but face a completely different opponent with the way City will press them on the ball. Courtois will have to be at his best to ensure his side can come away with a win.
Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea – Manchester City are going to give Chelsea a different style of game that no other side has done this season. Their pressing and ball retention will make this a difficult afternoon for Conte’s men. Historically, it is not a happy hunting ground for Chelsea and Aguero & co will make it another to forget for The Blues.