On Wednesday night in the Premier League, two of the perennial giants of the competition will clash once again at Old Trafford as Manchester United, struggling for consistency at the moment, take on Unai Emery’s new-look Arsenal side, who have gone 19 games unbeaten since the start of the season.
The game is just one of six matches on Wednesday evening after four games on Tuesday night saw Brighton, West Ham United, Bournemouth and Manchester City all record wins over Huddersfield, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace and Watford respectively.
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However, our attention this week is going to turn away from those midweek games and into one of the biggest games of the season this coming weekend at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea, where the hosts will take on the current Premier League leaders and Champions, Manchester City, in what is going to be one of the key defining games of the Premier League season.
Chelsea v Manchester City
With Manchester City still rampaging through opponents and at the top of the Premier League table, Saturday evening’s game is one that Chelsea must get something from, and ideally, they need to secure three points in order to close the gap on City.
That looks like being a big ask as since December 2009, the teams have met 23 times in total, Manchester City coming out on top on 13 occasions, including winning all of the last three encounters without conceding a goal, while Chelsea have picked up just seven wins, with just three draws between the teams in that period.
The teams met in the traditional season opener at Wembley, the Community Shield, when Manchester City were easy winners 2-0, a scoreline which flattered Chelsea moreso than it did City who were by far the better team on the day.
Last season, Manchester City won both encounters between the teams by a 1-0 scoreline, Kevin de Bruyne scoring a fabulous winner at Stamford Bridge back in September 2017 and then Bernardo Silva scored the winner when the teams met at the Etihad in March 2018.
Chelsea’s unbeaten record came to an end a couple of weeks ago when they were well beaten 3-1 by Tottenham Hotspurs at Wembley, but Manchester City have now gone 15 games unbeaten in the league so far this season, dropping just four points in those games and ahead of Wednesday night’s games, they have opened up a five point lead over the chasing Liverpool (who have a game on Wednesday night away to Burnley to cut that lead down to two).
Reds fans as well as fans of both Chelsea and Manchester City will be keeping a close eye on events at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.
So how will the teams potentially line up this weekend? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Mauricio Sarri has preferred his team to play an adapatable 4-3-3 formation, with Hazard and Willian providing the creative impetus in the final third alongside either Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud. The back four and goalkeeper positions look well set with the only other change possible coming in midfield. Sarri could elect to go with Ross Barkley, if the ex-Everton man is fit, in a more attack-minded midfield, but it is more likely he will keep things tight by playing the on loan Mateo Kovacic alongside Jorginho and Kante.
Chelsea Probable Team (4-3-3)
- GK – Kepa
- Dr – Azpilicueta
- Dl – Alonso
- Dc – Rudiger
- Dc – Luiz
- Mc – Jorginho
- Mc – Kante
- Mc – Kovacic
- AMr – Willian
- AMl – Hazard
- Ac – Giroud
Pep Guardiola rang the changes in midweek against Watford and although his side were 2-1 winners, they were hanging on a little at the end of the game, in a match that they should really have won very comfortably indeed. Having changed his entire back line for that game, Guardiola will likely shuffle things around for this game once again having rested some notable players either last weekend or in midweek. It will be interesting to see which two out of Sterling, Sane and Mahrez features against Chelsea, with the three of them seemingly vying for two places in the team. Sergio Aguero is a doubt after a setback in training in the week and he may be replaced by Gabriel de Jesus.
Manchester City probable Team (4-3-3)
- GK – Ederson
- Dr – Walker
- Dl – Mendy
- Dc – Stones
- Dc – Laporte
- Mc – Fernandinho
- Mc – David Silva
- Mc – Bernardo Silva
- AMr – Sterling
- AMl – Sane
- Ac – De Jesus
Chelsea v Manchester City Tips
Full Time Results – Chelsea v Man City – Draw – 11/4
History shows that relatively few matches between these two teams end in a draw, but I feel that this is the most likely outcome on Saturday. Chelsea are unbeaten at home all season long and City are unbeaten home or away. Those two records will be fiercely defended. City, for all their possession against Watford, were eventually hanging on at 2-1 late in the game and I think Chelsea will take heart from that and the fact that City do not look the best defensively, if you can get at them.
In Eden Hazard and Willian, Chelsea have two such players who could cause City massive problems when the home side come forward while Chelsea will offer more defensive resistance than Watford did.
The fact that this is at Stamford Bridge is also a plus point for Chelsea and it is a game that, really, they must win in order to stand any chance of catching City. I can’t see them doing quite that here, but I do feel that they may do enough to earn a draw.
Correct Score – Chelsea 2-2 Manchester City – 12/1
For me, both of these sides strengths are going forward and I think defensively, both are capable of being caught out by some quality attackers, which both teams possess. As a result, I can see this game not following the trend of recent matches between the teams, which have seen just one or a couple of goals, but more likely several will be scored. I can see City scoring twice and Chelsea will need to do likewise to snatch the draw and if Eden Hazard is on form, I believe they can do precisely that.
Anytime Goalscorer – Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – 13/8
If Chelsea are to stand a chance of getting anything from this game, then there is no doubt that Eden Hazard is going to have to have one of his better days. The Belgian started the season superbly but has been quieter of late. If he can get back to his best, then I think his running from midfield will cause City massive problems and I fancy he is due a goal after several games without one. He is also Chelsea’s penalty taker, which is another plus point in a game which may be decided by such fine margins.