It’s the battle of the title chasing blue teams on Saturday evening, when Chelsea host Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. A win would draw the home side level on points with their visitors, but is such a result on the cards?
Both teams are certainly in fabulous form. Since a surprise defeat to Burnley on the opening weekend, Chelsea have won seven and drawn one of their last eight games. They also pulled off a stunning victory at Atletico Madrid in midweek, coming from behind to win.
You can get 10/1 that they do the same here, and recent history suggests the Blues are capable of doing so. Antonio Conte’s boys won after conceding first four times in the league last season, and only Liverpool (with five) did so on more occasions. One of those Chelsea matches was against City as well for anyone keeping score.
They went behind in Spain on Wednesday after Sideshow Bob gave away a daft penalty, so Chelsea might be pleased he’s suspended for this one.
David Luiz looking smug as ever after putting his team ahead. pic.twitter.com/oFCX8irscS
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 28, 2014
City’s form has been even better. They have won their last five in league and Europe by a total score of 22-0. Those have been against no hopers like Crystal Palace and Liverpool though. This match will be far tougher.
Not least as they had a pretty poor record in the mini-league of the top six last season. When’s the parade, Liverpool fans?
Based on the form book, a sensible bet would be for there to be over 2.5 goals. You can grab that 8/11, and here’s why you should.
Last season, these clubs were the top two sides in the Premier League for the proportion of their games which featured at least three goals.
This form has continued into 2017-18 too. Both teams are joint top of the division, having seen it in four of their six matches so far. They would have repeated the trick in the Champions League this week as well, had Sergio Agüero not missed a penalty. Taxi for Agüero? Maybe not, eh?
That aside, it has also happened in the last five meetings between these two. If history is to be trusted, then over 2.5 goals looks a certainty. If it’s a dull 0-0, then blame history, not me. I get enough #jinx replies on Twitter already, thanks.
The first scorer market in this one looked like it was going to be a straight shootout between Alvaro Morata (who can be backed to net first at 7/2) and Agüero. The Argentine will be missing from this game though, as I’m sure you’ve heard. Still, which of us hasn’t had a night out in Amsterdam and then had to miss work for a few weeks afterwards?
Gabriel Jesus, at 9/2, leads the first scorer betting for the Citizens. Although he has scored two fewer goals than Agüero, he’s been more deadly with the top quality opportunities. He has scored four of his six clear-cut chances, whereas his senior strike partner has bagged four from nine.
Jesus scored six from nine last season too, and with quality chances likely be at a premium in this contest, he has the finishing quality to break the deadlock.
For larger returns in this market, I’s like to speculate on who might be due a goal. I tipped Willian as a possibility ahead of the Arsenal match though, so feel free to skip this paragraph.
Kevin de Bruyne is 9/1 to score the opener, he did so against Shakhtar Donetsk in the week, and has had the most league shots without scoring of any player on either side. The former Chelsea man might be worth a cheeky few quid to give City the lead.
If you’re looking for something else to bet on (and you wouldn’t have persisted this far if you weren’t) then it might be worth putting some money on there being a penalty, at 13/5. Consider the facts of the case, m’lud:
- Manchester City (61 penalties) and Chelsea (57) are the Premier League’s top two for spot kicks in the period since August 2009.
- Chelsea haven’t had one in their last 14 league matches, despite averaging one every 5.3 games in the last eight seasons.
- The match referee, Martin Atkinson, has awarded more penalties to Chelsea (ten) than he has to any other current top flight team.
- Atkinson has awarded a penalty every 3.9 Premier League matches over the past eight seasons, yet has only given one in his last 11 matches in the competition.
Our old friend the law of averages definitely believes there will be a penalty in this match. For the conspiracy theorists amongst you (and who doesn’t believe all refs are biased against them?), Atkinson has overseen more Chelsea wins (26) than he has for any other team.
But will Chelsea win? It’s certainly a clash of styles on the numeric front. Manchester City’s games have seen the most clear-cut chances this season, whereas Chelsea’s have seen the joint-second fewest. Conte’s team have had 43 shots in the box; Pep’s boys have had 56 more than their collective opponents so far, and 78 in total.
Will the attacking flair of City overpower the stern defence of the Blues? Whenever there’s a clash like that I tend to think it’ll be a draw, so my hard earned will be going on score draw at 3/1. If there’s a penalty and de Bruyne scores too, the drinks are on me.
* All odds correct at time of posting.