The two bookies’ favourites to win this season’s Premier League title meet when reigning champions Manchester City host Chelsea on Sunday (16:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).
Man City suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to Stoke City in their last match at the Etihad but have otherwise made a solid start to the season, winning two and drawing one in their other fixtures. They fell to a narrow defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League in midweek.
The German champions dominated possession, controlled the tempo and created the better chances, but City did, sporadically, offer a threat on the counter-attack and were slightly unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty for a foul on David Silva in the closing minutes. Sergio Aguero nearly conjured a late equaliser in stoppage time.
Best Match Betting Odds
7/5 Man City (Coral, BetVictor, Betfred, William Hill, Paddy Power, Boylesports)
21/10 Chelsea (Bet365, BetVictor, William Hill, Betfair Sportsbook, Boylesports)
5/2 Draw (Bet365, BetVictor, SkyBet, Boylesports)
The match was the latest in a run of tough early-season fixtures for City, who, after Sunday’s fixture, will have faced each of the other three top-four finishers from the Premier League last season, plus Bayern, in their first six matches of the campaign. In the circumstances, victory over Liverpool, a draw with Arsenal and a 1-0 defeat to Bayern is an acceptable haul.
City strengthened their squad over the summer, signing goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero, defender Eliaquim Mangala and defensive midfielder Fernando for a combined fee of just under £50 million. In addition, former Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna arrived on a free transfer. They now have good options and cover in almost every position.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini will definitely be without the injured Fernando (groin) for this match, while Stevan Jovetic (hamstring) is doubtful.
Chelsea have made a perfect start to the Premier League season, winning all four of their matches and scoring a league-high 15 goals in the process. They do, however, come into this game on the back of a slightly disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Schalke.
The Blues took an early lead through Cesc Fabregas but were unable to press home their advantage against a Schalke side robbed of a number of their regular first-team players through injury. The German side equalised just past the hour mark and were able to hold on for a point despite a late rally in which Chelsea had a number of good efforts on goal.
Jose Mourinho admitted afterwards that he was a little frustrated with his side’s defending for the Schalke goal. He will also have been concerned by the ease with which Julian Draxler, in particular, was able to cut through his midfield. It was, though, symptomatic of a start to the season in which Chelsea’s defending has left much to be desired.
Chelsea had the best defensive record in the Premier League last season, but 15 goals scored and six conceded so far this term suggests that the emphasis of the side has shifted towards attack. New signings Cesc Fabregas (six assists) and Diego Costa (seven goals & pictured above) have hit the ground running, providing additional incision in the final third of the pitch.
Mourinho has no major injury concerns ahead of the trip to Manchester. Costa has a minor hamstring problem, but he was largely rested from the midweek draw with Schalke and will be fit to start on Sunday.
Man City vs Chelsea Betting Tips Verdict
Chelsea emerged victorious from both of last season’s league fixtures between these sides, winning 1-0 away and 2-1 at home. City triumphed 2-0 when they met at the Etihad in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Prior to last season, City had won each of the previous four league meetings between the sides at the Etihad.
City have made a decent start to the season in light of the difficulty of their opponents to date and will be keen to come away from Sunday’s match with at least a point ahead of a run of more manageable fixtures. The likes of Silva and Aguero will be looking forward to the opportunity to test a Chelsea defence that has looked a little vulnerable so far this season.
Chelsea were the only side to prevent City from scoring in a home league match last season and Mourinho is likely to set his side up again to play a counter-attacking game. Summer signing Costa provides Chelsea with the strong and mobile striker they lacked last season. They will look to him to hold up the ball and bring the attacking midfielders into play.
These are two excellent sides with very little to separate them. We therefore believe that a score draw is the most likely result on Sunday.
- Back the draw on the ‘match result and both teams to score’ market @ best odds of 7/2 with BetVictor.
- Costa has scored in all four of Chelsea league matches so far and notched a hat-trick at home to Swansea last weekend. He is in excellent form and has already established a strong relationship with Fabregas, who has assisted three of his seven goals to date. Back Diego Costa to score at anytime @ 13/8 with Ladbrokes or Betfair Sportsbook.