Saturday 30th September. 5:30PM. BT Sport 1
The final Premier League game of September sees two heavyweight collide at Stamford Bridge in what promises to be the biggest match of the season so far. Even at this early stage of the campaign, its impact on the title race could be huge.
Both sides enter the clash following crucial midweek Champions League wins, and three league points on Saturday would set the winner up perfectly heading into the crucial month of October. It should be a thrilling battle at the Bridge.
Conte’s Champions Seek Big Statement
Wednesday night’s dramatic late win at Atletico in the Champions League underlined Chelsea’s return to form in emphatic style. Now that Diego Costa is gone too, the champions can now focus on putting themselves back in the title race – starting with a win against Manchester City here.
With Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi scoring goals on a regular basis, there’s a definite sense of optimism around Stamford Bridge, and this is only further enhanced by the fact that Eden Hazard is now getting back to his best.
Chelsea do face a few headaches as David Luiz’s suspension is coupled with Pedro’s slight niggles. As long as Morata overcomes his minor issues, though, the hosts will be relatively happy with the options at their disposal.
Conte’s men enjoyed back-to-back wins against City last year. Although the challenge looks a lot tougher this time around, a victory would put them right back in the title conversation. The incentive couldn’t be higher.
City Sweating Over Sergio
The big news coming out of the Etihad in the preparation for this crucial clash has been the confirmation that star striker Sergio Aguero was involved in a car crash on Thursday. While it’s not thought to be anything major in terms of his health, reports of 6-8 weeks on the sidelines is a concern for the Citizens.
Thankfully for Pep Guardiola, his squad is blessed with plenty of attacking options. The bigger issue, however, comes from the news that Benjamin Mendy is out for nine months with an ACL injury. The Citizens are now without a recognised left-back, and filling that spot will be a major challenge. Fabian Delph could be in line to get the nod, and that could be an area for Chelsea to punish.
Nevertheless, the City side is looking its strongest for at least three years and should be very confident after picking up seven wins on the spin. They’ve scored 26 and conceded just twice in that period. Should they showcase that type of quality on Saturday, they could be leaving the Bridge with all three points.
This is a fantastic opportunity for the Citizens to establish themselves as the title favourites. Having said that, their preparations haven’t been ideal. Whatever happens, it should be a thrilling spectacle.
Chelsea v Manchester City Betting
The bookies have found it tough to establish a favourite, but Chelsea just about edge the pre-match odds at 8/5 while Man City are 9/5. The draw is available at 5/2.
While the Citizens have been sparkling, they’ve had so much to take on this week and it could be too much to handle. Guardiola knows his side can’t continue to keep blitzing teams away, and this difficult trip to the Bridge might prove that.
With Chelsea flying high after Wednesday night, we’re backing them to grab a couple of goals against an away side that is still adjusting to the loss of Mendy.
Chelsea are performing well once more, but will still be wanting more from star man Hazard. This massive showdown against a title rival could be the perfect time for him to signal his return to world-class form.
The Belgian can score, assist, and torment a City defence that hasn’t really been tested this term. At odds of 6/1, he’s worth backing to pick up the horrific looking trophy.