Manchester City: fifth
Manchester City: 17-6-9
Last five match results
Manchester City: WWLDW
Chelsea: $2.62 with Sportsbet.com.au
Manchester City: $2.70
THIS is something new.
A match between Premier League power houses Chelsea and Manchester City that does not have title ramifications.
These two teams have been the Premier League’s benchmark over the past couple of seasons, but that is a thing of the past.
City is scrapping to hold onto it’s Champions League hopes next season, while Chelsea – the reigning champions – have had a remarkable fall from grace, almost looking at relegation, before sacking the Special One Jose Mourinho and experiencing some what of a resurgence under Guus Hiddink.
None of this matters, though, when two of the Premier League’s richest club’s go head to head at Stamford Bridge in the early hours of Sunday morning.
City has won two in a row after dropping all the points at home to Manchester United, backing up a 4-0 win over Bournemouth by beating West Bromwich Albion 2-1.
They didn’t have it all their own way though, after Albion struck in just the sixth minute, forcing them to come from behind thanks to the penalty boot of Sergio Aguero, before Samir Nasri struck the winner just after the hour.
Chelsea similarly had a 4-0 win a fortnight ago, but they crashed back to earth with a 1-0 loss to Swansea on the weekend and don’t have a heap to play for here.
The last time these two teams met at Stamford bridge, in January last year, they played out a dour 1-1 draw, City supremo David Silva cancelling out Loic Remy’s 41st minute goal just four minutes later.
This one has a similar result written all over, but if we had to lean one way, we would take the Sky Blues by a hair.
Chelsea: COURTOIS, IVANOVIC, MIAZGA, CAHILL, AZPILICUETA, MIKEL, FÁBREGAS, WILLIAN, LOFTUS-CHEEK, PEDRO, DIEGO COSTA
Manchester City: HART, SAGNA, OTAMENDI, MANGALA, CLICHY, FERNANDINHO, FERNANDO, NAVAS, TOURÉ, DE BRUYNE, AGUERO
Our match predictions
Match result: Manchester City to win ($2.80 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Correct match score: Manchester City 2-1 ($10 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Total match goals: Over 2.5 ($1.91 with WilliamHill.com.au)
First goal scorer predictions
Pedro ($8.50 with sportsbet.com.au)
The wonderfully talented Spaniard kicked off his Chelsea career in style, but has since tapered off slightly. While he may not be the man to rescue the club, he is certainly more that capable of being part of it. He has struck six goals in his 19 appearances for the Pensioners, proving he is more than capable of finding the net in the Premier League. He is only two weeks removed from a double in Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa and could be in for a big one against the Sky Blues.
Willian ($9.50 with sportsbet.com.au)
Chelsea’s most reliable player, Willian is more provider than scorer, but he still has four on the season and has been forced into an advanced roll in the later stages of 2016. That means he will get more opportunity and while you would expect most of the attacking work to go through Diego Costa, Ya Ya Toure and Pedro, Willian will certainly get his opportunities. Hasn’t scored since the 5-1 rout against Newcastle in February and you just get the feeling he is due.
Kevin De Bruyne ($6.50 with sportsbet.com.au)
The Belgian wizard is on a scoring spree, scoring in both Champions League games against PSG, against Bournemouth in the Premier League and Everton in the Capitol One Cup, giving him four goals in his last five appearances. Injuries have not been kind to De Bruyne and, had he not gone down for several games earlier in the season, City might still be challenging Leicester City for the Premier League title. De Bruyne is the red hot pick here for first goal scorer.
Jesus Navas ($21 with sportsbet.com.au)
The bright eyed Spanish assassin has, unbelievably, not scored a goal in the past two seasons. Now, bare with us. We’re thinking outside the square. It is an away game and while Chelsea has not been the most miserly side at home, City will still have to find ways to score. And maybe, just maybe, they will turn to Navas to provide an option outside the usual suspects. He’s a skilled, but selfless player, who might be well served to take more shots when he gets the opportunity. Could do with a goal or two to keep the wolves at bay in the off season as well.
First goal scorer markets
Diego Costa ($6)
Kevin De Bruyne ($6.50)
R Falcao ($6.50)
W Bony ($6.50)
Be Traore ($7)
K Iheanacho ($7)
E Hazard ($8)
Y Toure ($8.50)
D Silva ($9.50)
No Goalscorer ($9.50)
S Nasri ($11)
K Palmer ($11)
C Fabregas ($13)
C Colkett ($19)
R Loftus-Cheek ($21)
F Delph ($21)
J Navas ($21)
N Otamendi ($26)
A Kolarov ($26)
V Kompany ($34)
* Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
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