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AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Man City v Chelsea

Manchester City and Chelsea have won four of the last five titles between them and their big clash today could well knock one of the two out of the running for this season’s Premier League crown.

Liverpool are eight points clear at the top of the league – not an insurmountable gap by any means – but a big advantage this early in the season and it could easily be 11 or 12 points over either side here if they manage to win against Crystal Palace earlier today.

Defending Champions City are now 9/4 with Star Sports to retain their title following their 3-1 defeat at Liverpool before the international break and very few people would have foreseen City to be nine points behind Liverpool with 12 games gone.

They are unlucky to be so. The statistics in an early season draw with Tottenham defied belief; City won the shot count 30-3 in total, had 13 corners to 2, and won the shots on target count 10-2, but thanks to a late VAR call which ruled out Gabriel Jesus’s goal, had to share the points with Spurs; at the end of the 90 minutes the expected goals tally was an extraordinary 3.22 to 0.22 in City’s favour.

They also won the shot count in a 3-2 defeat against Norwich, but didn’t have any answer when Wolves managed to overpower them in a defeat that seemed to have a fair amount to do with some key injuries.

Man City v Chelsea
Premier League
17:30 Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD*
(Maximum 10 matches)
FEB 2019 EFL CUP Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
FEB 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea
DEC 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 2-0 Manchester City
AUG 2018 COMMUNITY SHIELD Chelsea 0-2 Manchester City
MAR 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea
SEP 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City
DEC 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 1-3 Chelsea
APR 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 0-3 Manchester City
FEB 2016 FA CUP Chelsea 5-1 Manchester City
AUG 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea
JAN 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City

Guardiola has been hit by injuries pretty consistently throughout the season with centre-back Aymeric Laporte perhaps the most missed of them, and at Anfield the gap that Ederson left compared to his deputy Claudio Bravo was clear for all to see.

That said, they played better than the 3-1 defeat suggested and Guardiola, who appeared to thank referee Michael Oliver and his team sarcastically before leaving the pitch, had every right to be aggrieved at the scoreline, and maybe the outcome. City could well have had a penalty for handball against Trent Alexander-Arnold directly before Fabinho’s opener, they easily could have had one later in the second half against the same player; Raheem Sterling had a rare big miss with a headed chance and only the post denied Sergio Aguero a first goal in nine games against City.

Chelsea (33/1 to win the title, but just 1/5 for a Top 4 finish) come here in resurgent mood, with the appointment of Frank Lampard – and his patience with an extremely talented of youngsters – paying off big time.

Tammy Abraham (5/1 for the Golden Boot with Starsports) scored his first England senior goal against Montenegro, his 12th for club and country this season, and he has been ably supplied by Christian Pulisic, who has come good five goals in his last five appearances after a slow start. Mason Mount is another of the thriving young guns with four goals and two assists, but it’s worth noting how well Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho and Willian have been playing.

That’s led to six straight wins in the Premier League (against Brighton, Southampton, Newcastle Burnley Watford, and Crystal Palace) and five away wins on the bounce, which is no mean feat indeed when one includes their win at Ajax in the Champions League.

Chelsea should have nothing to fear coming to City, especially as the John Stones and Fernandinho have looked shaky as a centre back pairing and Angelino was also given a very tough time against Liverpool too, and when City’s fullbacks push up, there can be spaced to be found on the flanks.

It is fair to give City a puncher’s chance here and perhaps they should be shorter than 11/2 for this encounter, but, this is going to be a much harder test for them than they’ve faced recently. Their wins have all come against sides tenth and below – and for all their deficit in the title race, Manchester City have won 22 of their last 24 home games, with one of those two games a moral victory against Spurs.

This has the feel of an open game that isn’t a sure thing either way, but City should enjoy being back at home and with better finishing, can leapfrog Chelsea with a win here. Dutching correct scores could be the best option here; City’s only clean sheet in their last five came against Aston Villa Chelsea have scored in five of their six away matches in the Premier League this season.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea 1 pt at 15/2
BACK Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea 1 pt at 9/1


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