Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Chelsea V Manchester City
Saturday 31st January. 5:30PM. Sky Sports 1
It’s the one with all been waiting for; top v second; champions v Premier League favourites; Chelsea v Manchester City.
As far as domestic matches go, they don’t come much greater than this and fans will be eager to see the two Premier League big boys collide in what is set to be a crucial moment in deciding the trophy’s final destination.
With so many phenomenal attacking talents on display, let’s hope it lives up to the billing. Come on!
Chelsea To Complete Turnaround With Hugely Important Victory
Make no mistake; Jose Mourinho will have been seething with his side’s inexplicable collapse against Bradford City seven days ago. However, that FA Cup exit will be all but forgotten should the Blues take this giant leap towards the Premier League title.
Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final triumph is a great start to confirming their revival and opening up an eight-point lead over the league champions would really cement a job well done for the title favourites. With his key men firing on all cylinders, the Special One will certainly fancy his side’s chances.
Diego Costa will miss the match through suspension, though, after his excessive physicality against Liverpool. However, Chelsea do boast ready replacements for the Spaniard, and can also look to their phenomenal midfield for inspiration against the champions.
Chelsea are looking stronger than any other Premier League side by a considerable distance right now, whilst Mourinho’s impeccable home form is bound to have a say to. Despite Costa’s absence, it’s hard to bet against the formidable hosts.
Toure Absence Vital For City
This will be an epic battle at the Bridge and there is absolutely no doubt that the absence of Yaya Toure will serve as a huge blow to Manchester City, who will be extremely concerned by the news of an injury suffered on AFCON duty for the Ivory Coast earlier this week.
The absence of City’s midfield Trojan could well be the key to deciding City’s fate, not only on Saturday but also in the entire Premier League title-race. Without his physical presence, it will be up to the likes of Fernandinho to combat the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic for midfield supremacy and we aren’t sure whether he has the qualities to deal with both the defensive and attacking aspects.
Elsewhere, Vicnent Kompany is still some way short of finding a return to top form since recovering from injury whilst City’s attacking options are also quite small in comparison to Chelsea’s,
The champions should by no means be discounted but Manuel Pellegrini faces a real uphill struggle. Avoiding defeat is a must, but even a draw may not be good enough in the grand scheme, which puts them in an extremely difficult scenario. Expect Jose to capitalise.
Chelsea V Manchester City Betting
The league leaders will obviously enter this match as the favourites, but this is the hardest home game of their entire season and that is reflected in the odds. Chelsea can be backed at 11/10 with Paddy Power, while the visitors are best priced 14/5 with Bet365. SkyBet are the market leaders for the draw, with odds of 13/5 available.
The significance of Toure’s absence cannot be overestimated and is the one factor that I feel gives Mourinho’s men the real edge at Stamford Bridge. With Matic and Fabregas pulling the strings in midfield, it could be a tough afternoon for the champions.
City’s vulnerability has been taken advantage of on a number of occasions this term and the league leaders should have no trouble in doing the same, especially without Toure to provide a guard in front of the away side’s central defensive pairing.
HT/FT: Chelsea/Chelsea @ 23/10 with Paddy Power
Out of those two Chelsea midfielders it is probably Fabregas who holds the key going forward and the Spaniard could well have an important say once more. However, Matic has been a real gem for Mourinho’s side in 2014/15 and that should become evident once again here.
Whilst we don’t think Matic necessarily possesses the qualities to grab headlines, his attributes will be a key facet to deciding the outcome of this crucial contest. If he performs to his capabilities, there is no reason that he won’t receive the highest statistical match rating from WhoScored.com.
Nemanja Matic to receive the highest match rating is 12/1 with BetVictor