Manchester City’s crushing defeat at Anfield feels like a long time ago, doesn’t it? November’s international break felt a little longer than usual, but now it’s finally time to get back down to business in the Premier League.
Liverpool face Crystal Palace before this game kicks-off, so there’s a chance Pep Guardiola’s men will find themselves a whopping 12 points behind Jurgen Klopp’s boys before a ball is even kicked at the Etihad – which is one big cushion.
However, it’s easy to forget that Chelsea (and indeed Leicester) are currently above Manchester City in the Premier League! While most, and I tentatively include myself, have written off Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League this season, I’m still holding out hope for another titanic, two-way title race between Liverpool and City, just like last year, despite the increasing likelihood of Liverpool running away with it.
There’s no doubt that Frank Lampard has exceeded all expectations in his first season as Chelsea manager, and the run they find themselves on (six straight Premier League wins) can no longer be put down to raw momentum; they are a very good side.
We have all seen City’s inconsistencies this season: three defeats from their last eight league matches isn’t going to beat Liverpool to the title (especially when one of these losses was against the Reds!), and there’s no doubt former-Manchester City star Lampard will fancy claiming this significant scalp – not least because his side have won five straight away games.
However, a few poor performances have bizarrely caused people to forget just how good Manchester City are, and I still believe they beat Chelsea – just like in eight of their last 11 home games against the Londoners.
It won’t be 6-0 like last season, I’ll tell you that, but while Chelsea have scored an absolute hatful away from home (against relatively negligible opposition), 12 concessions in their six on the road is far from impressive.
As a result, I’m backing Manchester City to win and both teams to score. Chelsea have not had trouble finding the net this season, but their defence is less-than-stellar, and looking at the joy Ajax had against them in the Champions League (before their red card, anyway), I’m confident the hosts will do the business.
1u - Man City to Win & Both Teams to Score @ +155
In the last four league games at The Etihad between these two sides, only once have we seen over seven corners awarded – and that includes the 6-0 game last season.
So, giving us some leeway, I like +120 for under 9.5 corners this time around.
Furthermore, Man City and Chelsea concede just 2.75 and 2.92 corners-per game this season, which are by far the lowest figures in the Premier League.