When: 4:00pm local time on Sunday, August 16, 2015
Where: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
TV: Sky Sports (UK), NBC Sports (US), Fox Sports (Australia)
Win bet: $2.15 to win at CrownBet.com
WDL record: 1-0-0
Win bet: $3.60 at William Hill
WDL record: 0-1-0
Draw – $3.40 at Sportsbet.com
IT may only be week two of Premier League 2015-16, but Sunday’s blockbuster clash at Eastlands could well prove decisive come the end of the season.
Chelsea ($3 for the title at Bet365.com) started the campaign as clear favourites for the Premiership, but it’s Manchester City ($2.90 outright odds at CrownBet) who now lead the pack after a very strong display in their opening fixture.
The Citizens made short work of West Bromwich Albion on Monday night, with veteran midfielder Yaya Toure bagging a brace inside 24 minutes as Manuel Pellegrini’s men sealed a 3-0 victory at the Hawthorns.
It was the perfect start for City as they made early inroads against a Chelsea outfit which lost its footing somewhat in round one.
The Blues were all over the shop last Saturday, conceding two messy goals as Swansea City escaped mighty Stamford Bridge with an unlikely 2-2 draw.
The lowlight for the reigning champs was the sending off of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who will now miss the trip to Etihad Stadium.
The leading Premier League bookmakers have responded swiftly to those results on matchday one, plunging Man City to $2.15 (www.CrownBet.com) while pushing Chelsea out as far as $3.60 (WilliamHill.com).
The draw is paying $3.40 best odds at several top EPL betting sites, including Sportsbet, William Hill and Bet 365.
But is this movement in the markets justified, or have the bookies jumped the gun on the basis of one week?
Match betting predictions
Chelsea to win – $3.60 at William Hill
Chelsea 1-0 full time score – $12 at www.Bet365.com
Chelsea + under 2.5 goals – $6.80 at CrownBet.com
Given recent results between these two, the odds offered on the home side aren’t all that appealing.
While both clashes between Man City and Chelsea last season ended in 1-1 draws, the Londoners haven’t lost a Premier League match at Eastlands since February 2013.
Combine that record with bookies jumping off the Blues bandwagon at the first hint of a wobble, and the value is all with the visitors.
We know how Mourinho’s Chelsea like to do things in big away clashes, of course, so don’t even think about tipping a high-scoring shootout here.
The defending champions’ inflated odds also mean there’s a bit of money in the alternative match betting markets at our trusted online sportsbooks.
Bet365.com is paying $1.80 on the Chelsea/draw double chance, as well as very juicy $2.62 draw no bet odds for the Blues.
Man City vs Chelsea team news
There were a few big names absent at West Brom on Monday, and there may be a few still this weekend as Pellegrini eases his South American stars into the 2015-16 Premier League campaign.
Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis and Sergio Aguero – all fresh off the 2015 Copa America with Argentina – started on the pine in round one, with the latter two coming on for a run in the second half.
And with City claiming a comfortable clean sheet against the Baggies, there’s every chance Bacary Sagna and Eliaquim Mangala will keep their spots in defence ahead of Zabaleta and Demichelis.
Kun Aguero has to be a real chance to start in place of Wilfried Bony, however, as the Ivorian forward was ineffectual against a workmanlike Albion back line.
Possible Man City XI: Hart; Sagna, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Toure; Navas, Silva, Sterling; Aguero.
With Courtois suspended, new signing Asmir Begovic – who spent 35 or so minutes on the field last weekend – will have a chance to stake his claim in the Chelsea goal this Sunday.
Brazilian striker Diego Costa completed 90+ minutes against Swansea and should lead the line once more, but the big news out of the Bridge this week has little to do with the starting XI.
The club doctor, Eva Carnerio, earned the wrath of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for tending to an injured player – i.e. doing her job – as it briefly left the Blues with only nine men in play.
Mourinho publicly slammed Carneiro afterwards and has allegedly banned the medico from the touchline this week, in a move that has earned the Portuguese tactician widespread criticism.
Possible Chelsea XI: Begovic; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa.
Manchester City first goalscorer odds
Sergio Aguero – $5.50 at www.WilliamHill.com
If he starts, Aguero is an obvious pick to nab the first goal of the game. He is City’s – nay, the league’s – most lethal forward when fit, having struck 26 times in just 33 appearances last season on his way to the EPL Golden Boot.
Raheem Sterling – $9 at CrownBet
The £49 million man spurned a golden chance on Monday night to score in his competitive debut for the Citizens. The former Liverpool winger was in excellent goal-getting touch during preseason, however, and will be eager to open his Premier League account with City ASAP.
Chelsea first goalscorer value bets
Eden Hazard – $10 at Sportsbet.com
Like the rest of the Chelsea XI, the Belgian playmaker was a little sluggish on his return to Premier League action last weekend. He and his comrades should be better for the runout, though, and you can expect the incumbent PFA Player of the Year to be buzzing around the Man City penalty box this Sunday.
Branislav Ivanovic – $34 at Sportsbet
He may be a big, burly, no-nonsense defender, but Ivanovic has a happy knack of scoring decisive goals in big games. The Serbian stopper has found the net 31 times during his stay at Stamford Bridge, and very generous $34 odds make him an excellent dark horse option.
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