Premier League champions Manchester City welcome Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Both teams are on different missions, with City’s sights on the Premier League title and Chelsea’s goal to finish in the top four.
Their targets might be different, but they’ll be after the same thing on Sunday: victory.
Man City 5/10
Manchester City are yet to play Everton at the time of writing. The Citizens are second in the Premier League, two points behind table-toppers Liverpool, and only two ahead of third-placed Tottenham. Pep Guardiola’s outfit are aiming to become the first team to retain the league title since their city rivals Manchester United did so in 2008-09.
Since the start of the year, City have won four of their five matches. Guardiola’s side started the new year on a high note, claiming a well-deserved 2-1 victory at home to Liverpool. That was followed by successive 3-0 wins over Wolves and Huddersfield.
A 2-1 defeat away to Newcastle set them back, but City returned to winning ways last Sunday with a comfortable 3-1 victory at home to Arsenal, with Sergio Aguero netting a hat-trick. That was their 12th win from 13 Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium. However, they did lose on their ground in December, going down 3-2 to Crystal Palace.
With City desperate to overtake Liverpool and win the Premier League, they’ll know they can’t afford to drop points against Chelsea. City’s first league defeat of the season came at the hands of Maurizio Sarri’s men in December and the Blues have already completed a league double over the Citizens since Guardiola arrived in England.
But with the Citizens high on confidence, playing at the Etihad, and the free-scoring form of Aguero, Guardiola’s side will be confident of victory over Chelsea.
Sarri’s side will head into Sunday’s difficult trip to Manchester City knowing that a defeat will likely see them drop out of the top four. The west London club sit fourth in the Premier League, two points above fifth-placed Manchester United and a further point ahead of Arsenal, who occupy sixth place. Chelsea have endured a tough start in 2019, picking up just seven points from their five Premier League games played thus far.
The Blues had to settle for a goalless draw at home to relegation-threatened Southampton in their opening game of the year with Alvaro Morata disappointing upfront. Sarri’s side responded well by claiming a 2-1 victory over Newcastle, but they failed to build on that and were beaten 2-0 away to Arsenal. What followed was pure humiliation as the Blues suffered an embarrassing 4-0 loss at Bournemouth, handing Gonzalo Higuain a nightmare Premier League debut.
With Sarri coming under heavy criticism with calls for the Italian to change his tactics against Huddersfield, the former Napoli boss refused to desert his 4-3-3 formation and instead proved that his way can work as the Londoners thrashed Huddersfield 5-0 at Stamford Bridge, responding to their recent woes in emphatic style.
The manner of the result would have pleased Chelsea fans, but they would have also been delighted to see their new No.9 thriving. Higuain opened his account for the Blues in that game with a well-taken brace to cap off a stellar performance. His movement was excellent and he linked up brilliantly with Eden Hazard, who also netted twice.
It’s going to be incredibly difficult for Sarri’s side to leave the Etihad Stadium with a point, let alone three, but since Guardiola came to England in 2016, the Spaniard has suffered three league defeats against Chelsea. And if Hazard and Higuain gel as well as they did last weekend, it will be wrong to write them off.
Man City: 4-3-3
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; David Silva, Fernandinho, De Bruyne; Sterling, Aguero, Bernardo Silva.
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic; Willian, Higuain, Hazard.
Prediction: Aguero to Score First & Man City to Win (4/1)
A couple of seasons ago, predicting the outcome in this fixture would have you scratching your head. Fast forward to the present day, it’s a pretty easy call. Manchester City should win this comfortably. Don’t look too much into Chelsea’s annihilation of Huddersfield; City put six past them in the beginning of the season. The home win looks a sure bet at 5/10, but I suggest using Hollywoodbets’ Price Boosts and Specials and jump on Sergio Aguero to Score First and City to win.
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