Another title contender clash this weekend in the Premier League sees unbeaten Manchester City make the trip down south to take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have stuttered in recent weeks with just the two wins from their last five while City remain on track to finish 2018 at the top of the table. Form Labs bring you their betting preview and tips for the clash and if you are looking for some more value then check out or comprehensive selection of enhanced odds for the game.
Sarri Concerned With Chelsea Form
Chelsea had appeared in complete control against a Wolves side in poor form, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s opener another encouraging staging post in the England midfielders’ development. However, Maurizio Sarri has publicly questioned his players’ attitude following the reverse that took place during the second half, bemoaning the overconfidence and the poor mentality that saw them virtually turn into another team once the equalizer had been found.
Sarri is right to be worried as this was hardly Chelsea’s only poor performance of late. The Blues have just a single victory in four league games now, with that a stodgy 2-0 win over local rivals Fulham, but even more concerning than the defeat at Wolves is their 3-1 loss at Wembley to Spurs.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men and especially Dele Alli pressed his team into panic and gave Jorginho little room to breathe, and Pep Guardiola will employ similar high-energy tactics as per usual.
Sarri’s midfield general already occupies third and fourth place for the number of completed passes in a single Premier League game from his short time in England so far, only behind Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho from matches last term. Indeed, the City manager knows all about his qualities having tried and failed to lure him to the Etihad during the summer before Chelsea controversially hijacked the move.
N’Golo Kante Conundrum
While Sarri is right to check any brashness from his team as they’re already 10 points off their visitors here, the Italian must take some of the blame himself as he’s struggled to solve the N’Golo Kante conundrum. Even with Jorginho rested against Wolves, N’Golo Kante remained stationed on the right-hand side of a midfield trio with Cesc Fabregas taking the central role.
At this point, it’s obvious that Kante cannot deliver his best performances from that position where he finds himself higher up the pitch, while it’s also clear that Chelsea’s recent opponents have sussed out that stopping Jorginho is the key blueprint to follow.
Chelsea’s strong opening to the campaign saw them prematurely talked up as possible title contenders, with their win and stalemate versus Liverpool over two games in late September adding to the sense that they were ready to be competitive at the top.
However, besides those tests, they’ve come up short against Spurs, were fortunate to sneak a draw hosting Man Utd, while their 3-2 victory over Arsenal in their first home game of the season could easily have been a defeat had the Gunners brought their shooting boots that day – with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang particularly culpable on that occasion.
City Dominant Against Big Six Teams
The Blues were also thoroughly outclassed by City themselves in the Community Shield, and though that was early in Sarri’s reign, the reigning champions also did the double over them last term. In fact, the visitors’ pedigree can be demonstrated by a phenomenal W11-D1-L2 record against fellow ‘Big Six’ sides since the start of last season.
That consistency has been on full display this season, and across all competitions, they’ve won 14 of their last 16 unbeaten matches. They’ve even plundered 26 goals in their last seven outings (3.71 gpg) and Sarri can only dream of possessing that kind of firepower at his fingertips.
Chelsea Short Of Firepower
Olivier Giroud might be experiencing a mini purple patch with four goals in his past five matches across all competitions, though all but one of these strikes came against either PAOK or BATE Borisov in the Europa League.
Meanwhile, in the Premier League, he and Alvaro Morata have produced a paltry combined total of six goals from 54 shots. Moreover, Eden Hazard hasn’t scored since the beginning of October having started the campaign on fire, but he’s never racked up big goal tallies throughout his career and though he should complete a personal best this season given where he stands now, Sarri is still well short of the firepower Guardiola can call upon.
Aguero Set To Miss Out Again
Indeed, even though Sergio Aguero is likely to miss out through injury here, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez both got onto the scoresheet against Watford midweek as the pair try to carve out a first team place for themselves. However, with Raheem Sterling enjoying a stellar campaign and the presence of Gabriel Jesus, such is the embarrassment of riches at Guardiola’s disposal that one or the other will have to miss out.
Sterling was rested in that most recent clash, presumably with this one in mind, and he’s already bagged eight goals in 12 league appearances this term and has even managed to score for England – something of a mental hurdle to overcome. He’s been especially productive since the start of November with four goals and three assists in just four games, and at the prices is the pick of the bunch to get onto the scoresheet.
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