Manchester City could make a significant step towards winning the Premier League title by beating Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday at noon.
Both teams enter the game in great form with City holding a 10-point lead at the top of their table and having won 11 league matches in succession. Chelsea is now in the EFL Cup final, and they have never lost in any competitions.
Manchester City has not made any mistakes in the Premier League since a surprise defeat to Crystal Palace at October’s end. Pep Guardiola’s team has scored 33 goals and conceded seven in their 11 games since that time.
Six of the 11 wins came via 1-0 or 2-0 scores or 2-1 scores. This includes their two league wins against Brentford and Arsenal.
It is expected that Saturday’s match will be close. Second-placed Chelsea has not lost any of six league games. Four of those have ended in draws.
The four last meetings between the sides, and six of their seven clashes, have ended in 1-0, 2, or 2-1. City won two of those, including a September victory at Stamford Bridge.
News from the team
Riyad Mahrez, the leading scorer, is participating in the African Cup of Nations. Kyle Walker, the defender, should keep his place in this starting line-up following his return from action in Friday’s FA Cup against Swindon. John Stones, Phil Foden, and Oleksandr Ziinchenko are all doubtful for the top-ranked match.
City’s expected line-up (4-3-3). Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Gondozzi, Rodley, De Bruyne; Jesus, Silva, Sterling.
Andreas Christensen was positive for Corvid-19 and will miss the game. Trevor Chalobah, Reece James, and Ben Chilwell are all hurt, and goalkeeper Eduard Mendy has been assigned to international duty.
Romelu Lukaku will lead the line. Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount’s attacking midfielder, is likely to compete for a start.
Chelsea’s expected line-up (3-4-2-2). Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger; Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Havertz, Monte; Lukaku.
There are a fewManchester City players with COVID. Riyad Mahrez, a player infected by COVID, is playing in the African Nations Cup. However, Pep Guardiola’s squad still has enough strength to cover. City has 12 players who have scored at the least twice in the league, and Kevin De Bruyne (5 goals) will continue to dominate the game from the middle. Gabriel Jesus (seven assists), Phil Foden (5 goals, 3 assists), and Raheem Sterling (7 goals) are both excellent facilitators. City leads the Premier League in goals scored (53) and conceded (13).
Manchester City’s dominance at the Etihad has been impressive this season. They won eight games and lost one. Pep Guardiola’s team leads the Premier League in possession, with 67.9%. This is 5.5% more than second-placed Liverpool. Guardiola won the last meeting with these two teams and held 60% of possession in a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge. It outshot Chelsea 15-5 while Chelsea did not score a goal.
Chelsea has won four of the six previous meetings, including the Champions League final last year. This was a three-game win streak against Manchester City over six weeks last spring. After beating Tottenham 1-0 on Wednesday, the Blues will be confident to enter the League Cup final.
Chelsea has the third-lowest number of goals in the league, with 16 goals. This is a strong defensive record. The team also has 45 goals, which is the third-highest in the league. They will hope Romelu Lukaku’s (5 goals) direction is redirected after having some difficulties with Thomas Tuchel. Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have the speed to make it difficult on the counter-attack. Mason Mount (7 goals, 5 assists) is now one of the most dangerous players on the team.
Despite both sides possessing a lot of attacking qualities, goals have been crucial in recent meetings between them. Three of the four previous meetings were decided by less than 2.5 points.
City has scored only two goals in that time, with Gabriel Jesus’ winning goal back in September. Guardiola’s team doesn’t have a great striker but it hasn’t affected their results. This may have made them less impressive in the front goal.
In recent weeks, Chelsea has had a few low-scoring games. They scored less than 2.5 goals in six out of nine previous matches. The exception to this was the 5-1 win over Chesterfield, a National League team, in the FA Cup last week.
This could prove to be a very delicate game due to Saturday’s importance to the title race. The 2.5 under is worth looking at.
Bernardo Silva is City’s best player thus far this season. The Portuguese maestro has already matched his best goalscoring record since joining City. He made seven Premier League appearances between 2021-22.
Despite the talent in the squad, the 27-year old scored in the FA Cup tie last weekend. He has been named in 20 league games.
Silva scored against Chelsea once before. It was in 2018 when Silva scored the only goal in City’s 1-0 Premier League victory at the Etihad Stadium.
Saturday may produce a similar result. If it does, all three of our suggestions may be applicable.
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