>The Saturday evening kick-off sees Premier League leaders, Manchester City, travel to Stamford Bridge to face fourth-placed Chelsea. This will certainly be one of the sterner tests that City will face this season, but they meet a Chelsea side going through a patch of indifferent form.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 6, 2018
Chelsea started the Premier League season 12 games unbeaten, but in unlucky game 13, they lost 3-1 at Wembley to Tottenham. The warning signs were there, having been held to a 0-0 draw at home by Everton the previous week, but they responded to that defeat to Spurs with a routine 2-0 win against West London neighbours, Fulham.
All seemed back on track, but a shock 2-1 defeat at Wolves in midweek has left new manager, Sarri Maurizo, scratching his head and one win in four games has seen Chelsea drop to fourth.
Their visitors, Manchester City, are having no such problems. They remain unbeaten having won 13 of their opening 15 games. By the time this game kicks off, at 17.30, City might have been replaced by Liverpool at the top, if the Reds win at Bournemouth earlier in the day – so City will know they can either regain the lead or extend it, with a positive result at Stamford Bridge.
The last time City failed to win in the Premier League was nearly two months ago when they were held to a 0-0 draw at Liverpool. Since then, they have won seven on the bounce, scoring 24 goals in the process, which leaves them as the top scorers in the league by 11 goals.
There last three results were a 4-0 win at West Ham, a 3-1 success against Bournemouth at home, and a 2-1 win this week at Watford.
Team news – Chelsea
Manager, Sarri Maurizo, described Manchester City as ‘the best team in Europe’ earlier this week, so he is fully aware of the task in front of him and his team.
? A word from the Chelsea boss
? Sane's stats
? #CHEMCI predictions
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 7, 2018
He has a near enough full squad to choose from, only Marco van Ginkel is definitely ruled out, and there are question marks over Ross Barkley’s fitness, as he is suffering with an ankle injury.
More worryingly for Maurizo, is the recent lack of goals from top scorer, Eden Hazard – but this is the type of game he thrives in. N’Golo Kante will need to have a big game to break up City’s flow, and Antonio Rudiger has to impress in his first game against the Manchester club, if Chelsea are going to prevent the visitors from scoring.
Team news – Manchester City
City made a number of changes to the side that beat Watford in midweek, so expect to see some more for this game. Eliaquim Mangala and Benjamin Mendy are definitely ruled out, whilst doubts remain over Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne who both missed Tuesday’s game.
Raheem Sterling, rested in midweek, is likely to return to the starting line-up, as is Aymeric Laporte and Nicolas Otamendi.
However, with the wealth of talent Pep Guardiola has at his disposal, it is hard to second guess which players he will draw upon to keep City’s unbeaten league run going.
Head to head
Saturday’s game will be the 161st meeting between the two sides, after they first met in December 1907, when the clubs played out at 2-2 draw in League Division One. Chelsea and Manchester City have enjoyed some great games against each other over the years, including three memorable ones for City in the mid 1950’s, when they scored five goals against Chelsea at Maine Road in successive seasons from 1956 to 1958.
There was a famous fortnight in 1971 when the clubs met three times in the space of two weeks. The first encounter was a European Cup Winners Cup Semi-Final first-leg, which Chelsea won 1-0. They then travelled to Manchester for a league game three days later to register a 1-1 draw, before Chelsea returned to Maine Road for the second-leg of their European Semi-Final, winning 1-0 again to progress to the Final.
In the 1988/89 season, both clubs found themselves in Division Two and were locked together as promotion rivals for most of the season. Chelsea eventually pulled clear to win the title by 17 points, but were joined in Division One by City, who finished runners-up.
The clubs first met in the Premier League in 1992, with Chelsea winning 1-0 at Maine Road. Chelsea certainly have the better record between the two sides in the Premier League, but City beat them 1-0 home and away last season – and then defeated the London club 2-0 in Augusts Community Shield.
The overall record stands at 66 wins for Chelsea, 55 wins for Fulham, and 39 draws.
Prediction and betting tips
Chelsea are having a wobble after that initial defeat against Tottenham, but they are still very strong at home. However, Manchester City can show how good they really are and could display a ruthlessness against Chelsea that will have the rest of the Premier League title contenders conceding defeat already. For more of this weekends football matches, check out our free football tips which we update several times a day
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 7, 2018
City will try and keep it tight, rather than go all out attack, but they are so dangerous on the break, Chelsea cannot afford to go to sleep for one moment. We do see both teams scoring though and plenty of goals, with Chelsea’s best hopes coming from set pieces.
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