With Pep Guardiola determined to set Manchester City on track for the Premier League title, Saturday’s clash with current leaders Chelsea at the Etihad promises to be a mouth-watering encounter. Antonio Conte’s Chelsea meted out Tottenham Hotspur their first Premier League defeat when they prevailed over the visiting Lillywhites 2-1 at Stamford Bridge and also recorded their seventh consecutive Premier League win. But a important takeaway from that clash is that the Blues conceded their first goal after maintaining clean sheets in six consecutive games. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were able to put a lot of the pressure for some time in the first half on a Chelsea defence that looked invincible of late and also getting a goal for their efforts. This is something that Guardiola must have noted and will be willing to exploit when the Blues come visiting on December 3. For Conte, the resurgence in Pedro’s form and the revelation of Victor Moses is a relief and has provided added impetus to the attacking combine of Diego Costa and Hazard. For a City side that has conceded a goal in almost every outing irrespective of the match outcome, the Chelsea attack will surely give Guardiola worry lines. In Saturday’s clash with a lowly Burnley in which the Citizens eventually prevailed 1-2, the opener, in fact, came from the hosts in the 14th minute. The City boss made as many as 5 changes to the side that played Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday which involved resting of players like John Stones at the back and the mercurial Kevin De Bruyne upfront. Come Saturday at the Etihad he will pack his side to full-strength for the League-defining clash against the Blues. This is the second time the Citizens will be running into truly huge opposition after their ignominious defeat to Tottenham 0-2 early in October.
Barring a convincing 0-4 win over West Bromwich Albion, Guardiola’s men have struggled against the likes of Southampton, Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and Burnley, their outings against these outfits peppered with draws and narrow wins. It’s the phenomenal run of six starting wins to the 2016-17 season that has kept City in the top three of the EPL table.
Pep Guardiola’s seriously needs a good comeback match and they couldn’t have run into a tougher opponent than Chelsea. But bookmakers are factoring in a home advantage at the Etihad and the availability of all their top players in Saturday’s starting XI in assigning odds for a Man City win.
Chelsea to win, Best Odds 5/2 @ SkyBet