Who: Manchester City vs Chelsea
When: Saturday, November 23rd @ 12:30pm ET
Line: Man City -250 | Draw +390 | Chelsea +650
Despite Pep Guardiola’s post-game meltdown, the reality is that City are firmly second-favourites. However, in order to keep their hopes up, they must find back the momentum which allowed them to win 14 matches in-a-row to seal the title last season.
Next up, however, are Frank Lampard’s glowing Chelsea side. The Blues are high on confidence. They visit the Etihad Stadium on the back of seven away wins in-a-row in all competitions. Of course, they will still be the underdogs knowing just how powerful the Citizens are at home.
The worst thing is that the defending champions are pissed. Expect them to come out with a full-fledged attacking approach to come up with a defiant response to their last loss. Lampard truly needs to come up with something spectacular to counter City’s threat or risk another annihilation at Manchester, similar to the one suffered at the opening weekend.
Manchester City Likely XI
Ederson, Cancelo, Fernandinho, Stones, Angelino, Rodri, D.Silva, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling.
City are without four first-team players for the game, as Bernardo Silva is suspended after being charged for an indecent tweet at Benjamin Mendy. Oleksandr Zinchenko, Aymeric Laporte & Leroy Sane remain long-term absentees. Ederson, however, should return after missing out the trip to Merseyside.
Chelsea Likely XI
Kepa, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori, James, Jorginho, Kante, Mount, Emerson, Willian, Abraham.
So the good news is that N’Golo Kante is finally back and should feature. But the bad news is Christian Pulisic might not make it after missing USA’s game against Canada. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger & Ross Barkley are also ruled out from the game.
Manchester City vs Chelsea Match Preview
The loss to Liverpool means that Man City have already lost 3 games this season. They only lost 4 last time out. The Citizens have fallen off quite a bit and that showed as they wasted chances at Merseyside before the Reds convincingly shoved them aside.
The only good thing was that City still managed to trouble Liverpool more than other teams have at Anfield. Sergio Aguero going into incognito mode didn’t help. The Argentine must be raging to get back to firing on all cylinders after that embarrassment. Chelsea would be foolish to take him for granted, knowing just how lethal he is finishing off chances at his beloved Etihad.
Raheem Sterling also got into a controversy after scuffling with Joe Gomez in the England camp following the loss. However, he’s desperate to silence his doubters too. The youngster has been in impressive touch this season. Knowing his cunning movement & goal-scoring touch now, he should turn up the fire at the weekend.
Kevin De Bruyne’s retained his stunning consistency through the highs & lows this season. The way he creates chances out of nothing is rather mesmerizing. His stinging crosses, as well as expert through-balls, should cause a nightmare for the visitors. David Silva’s vibrancy is another unique attacking trait which they lacked against Liverpool.
Chelsea, however, aren’t one to go defensive. A fearless unit under new management, they have mastered the art of withering the storm away from home. Not only have they won their last five league away games, but pulling out a miracle at Ajax proved just how good Lampard’s tactical knowledge is.
Considering that the Blues have created the second most goal-scoring chances in the league, just behind City, they aren’t one to park the bus, hoping for a point. They should go with a protected formation, with Pulisic out, but will steer forward in swift breaks or try to work their way past City’s shaky defence.
The Citizens must maintain their defensive solidity or risk being carved apart by this booming young squad. Tammy Abraham’s scoring with ease under the new system which compliments hi natural, old-school finishing skill perfectly. Willian might not be getting many goals or assists, but has been their driving force with witty movement or crossing from the wings.
Youngsters Fikayo Tomori, Kurt Zouma & Mason Mount have all excelled in pressure situations. This is their biggest challenge, in which they can prove their strong mental fortitude. With experienced Jorginho & the three-lung Kante around, they’ll hope to frustrate the hosts.
The visitors must put in their heart & souls into the game to pull off anything. But if they end up losing their concentration or bulking under pressure, the defending champions won’t hesitate even the slightest before curbing them to the stomp as well as jumping over them in the standings.
Knowing how both sides love to attack, this should be a thrilling, end-to-end contest. Chelsea won’t back down. City’s defense is vulnerable. However, I think City are too strong at home. Being desperate for a win, they’ll probably be relentless gunning forward for goals. They should win 3-1.