Man City v Chelsea best bets: De Bruyne looks good value to haunt his old club

We've spent the cold snap crunching on the numbers and it's not looking good for Chelsea.....


After sweeping aside Arsenal twice in the last week, Manchester City now have their sights set on Chelsea. While Pep Guardiola’s team will obviously win the Premier League this season, they have a good incentive to keep winning: as things stand, they can clinch the title with a victory over fierce rivals Manchester United.

Of course, for that to happen both teams have to keep winning in the meantime, and United’s patchy form and performances suggest it might not come to that. Arch party pooper Jose Mourinho would love nothing more than to head across town with the aim of holding back the City party for a week. But City need to take down Chelsea first in order to keep their dream alive.

It seems safe to assume there will be goals in this match, and not just because Paddy is only offering 8/13 that there will be at least three.

Guess who has had the most home games with over 2.5 goals in 2017/18? Which team has played the most away matches with at least three goals this season? The first one is Manchester City. The second isn’t Chelsea, but they’re close enough to warrant this lame piece of misdirection.

This form also applies to the big games. City have had over 2.5 goals in 12 ‘big six’ league matches since the start of last season, which is the joint-most, and Chelsea aren’t far behind on 10. It looks to me like a bet on over 2.5 goals might be worth putting on your coupon, and I don’t mean your face.

That said, I reckon it might take three goals by the home side to reach that mark, as I’m not convinced the Blues will get on the scoresheet.

Chelsea are the joint-lowest scorers in the top six mini league in 2017/18, with just seven goals in seven matches, and they have drawn a blank in three of their last five league meetings with the Citizens. In view of that, Paddy’s odds of 6/4 for a Man City clean sheet look quite generous to me, and well worth keeping in mind.

Conte’s boys might’ve drawn a blank in this fixture last year too, had City not contrived to miss three clear-cut chances and put the game to bed before Chelsea had scored. The most glaring of the misses occurred when Kevin de Bruyne hit the bar from inside the six yard box, in a season-defining-your-granny-would’ve-scored-that miss.

I reckon he might make amends this weekend. I mentioned him as a potential scorer in my Charabanc Cup final preview last week, and he didn’t deliver. But I also did for the reverse of this fixture, and he bagged the only goal of the game at Stamford Bridge.

De Bruyne is available at 4/1 to score any time, or 9/1 to get the first goal of the match. The latter is of particular interest, as City’s Belgian maestro has broken the deadlock in two ‘big six’ league matches this season, which is the joint-most times alongside Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah.

Let’s hope he plays with a point to prove when up against his former side. De Bruyne will also want to stay in the good books of his mates in the Chelsea Rejects XI. Maybe Romelu Lukaku should’ve suggested them as a team for his All Star game, to ensure he actually got to play?

Still, Chelsea don’t need those losers, as they’ve got Olivier Giroud. The former Gunner has had just over a games-worth of pitch time in the league for the Blues but hasn’t scored yet. Maybe he’s not following Conte’s Blue-print?

“If you’re having goal problems I feel bad for you, son, you’ve had 99 minutes but your goals read none”.

It’s hard to imagine Conte as an MC, isn’t it? Hip hop stars don’t tend to have wigs, after all. Giroud is 7/1 to score first or 11/4 to net at some point, but I would imagine Morata is more likely to start and his prices are 8/1 and 3/1 respectively.

But it’s Willian who is the Chelsea man in form, and his odds of 9/2 any time or 11/1 first goal scorer look mighty tasty. He scored in this fixture last season, and has found the net four times in his last three appearances.

As always when City play, it’s worth keeping Sergio Agüero in mind here too. And in this case, it’s not just down to his phenomenal goal record; match referee Michael Oliver is the Premier League’s second most frequent awarder of penalties, and City’s record scorer always takes them.

Conspiracy theorists will be interested to learn Oliver has awarded City seven penalties to date (which is the second most he has awarded anyone) but only two for Chelsea. Presumably he saw an infringement on the Etihad’s grassy knoll. Anyway, the odds of 13/5 that a penalty will be awarded are worth considering for a punt.

The nerdy numbers definitely favour the home side. City to win 2-0 is the most likely according to expected goals, but 1-0 and 3-0 are the next in line. Luckily for us, Paddy has odds that City win to nil (15/8) or that they win by 1/2/3-0 (23/10), and both are worth thinking about.

However, the amount of goals in these teams’ matches makes me think a 2-1 home win is the way to go, at 13/2, or perhaps City to win and both teams to score at 21/10. There’s some sound ideas for you here, but where to spend your cash is up to you. Money ain’t a thang, is it?

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What do you think?