Chelsea vs Manchester City: Match preview, betting tips and predictions
|Inches wide: Ben Chilwell volleys wide against Villa in their 1-1 draw in the premier league. (Photo credit: Premierleague.com)|
Chelsea vs Manchester CityStamford Bridge5:30pm
There’s a lot to be worried about on either side of this fixture with Chelsea struggling for points, just one league win in five and City struggling for fitness after five players become unavailable following coronavirus testing.
Manchester City’s game against Everton was called off just hours before kickoff after Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus were reported positive on Christmas day, Pep Guardiola however confirmed that there’s a spike in cases in his team with three more first team players ruled out due to the virus.
Chelsea don’t have Covid cases but they do have form problems, since going top earlier in December, they have only beaten Westham with losses Everton, Wolves and out of sorts Arsenal, their last was a draw at home to Aston Villa, a result that pushed them outside of the top four.
The opening fixture of the year hasn’t been kind to the Blues of recent with a 1-1 result against Brighton in 2020 coming to mind, Frank Lampard is expected to do businesses in the window that just opened but before then, he has to make a statement of note against a seemingly depleted Manchester City.
There are rumors that Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are among the three players that tested positive to the virus before New Year day but Pep Guardiola has asked newsmen to wait until matchday to find out, insisting that he’s not allowed to divulge.
Timo Werner continues to struggle in front of goal for Chelsea with just four goals to his name in the league, there are enough excuses for him considering where he has been deployed, on the flanks instead of upfront but the presence of Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham means he has to adapt.
On paper, one would favor the former Arsenal man to start upfront but building for the future means one has to compromise and sacrifice in times like this, but the question for Lampard is: Does he want immediate impact or future balance?
Manchester City can hand a start to danger man, Sergio Aguero, Guardiola has been cautious with the Argentine and if he isn’t one of the further three to miss the game due to COVID, he should get the nod to have a go at Chelsea.
Thiago Silva will return alongside Kourt Zouma in defense, Andreas Christenson didn’t cover himself in glory in the 1-1 draw against Villa and will certainly now go further down in pecking orders, the midfield fulcrum should be Kante and Kovacic but the real confusion lies in the final third.
Lampard still doesn’t know his best options upfront, Mason Mount is his preferred number 10 but he must find a way to accommodate Kai Havertz who is under pressure to justify his big transfer fee, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson Odoi.
The last five is pretty even between the two, two wins each and a draw in the Carabao cup 11 months ago, this would be a game of who wants it more.
Verdict: City to win or draw