Chelsea vs Manchester City preview, betting tips and predictions: City too hot to handle, even for structured Blues

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Draw HT/Manchester City FT @ 11/2 with Bet365

Manchester City with a -1 handicap @ 7/2 with Bet365

Draw @ 23/10 with Bet365

Chelsea and Manchester City, as well as Manchester United, seem to be establishing a gulf in class to the rest of the Premier League. Although the Blues lost at home to Burnley on the opening day of the season, they have recovered to win all but one of their other games. As a result, they are in third behind both Manchester clubs, who are joint top on 16 points having each drawn one game.

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Early form cannot be relied upon for predicting the outcome of the Premier League title race. Pep Guardiola won his first ten games at City last season before faltering and allowing Antonio Conte’s side to take control with a 13-game winning streak in the Autumn. Chelsea beat City at home and away last season, but Guardiola’s men are looking more dangerous than ever heading into the game at Stamford Bridge.

In the last five games, City have scored a staggering 22 goals and conceded just one. Liverpool, Feyenoord, Watford and Crystal Palace have all shipped at least four when faced by their attack. It must be said, Chelsea are also looking strong going forward after beating Qarabag 6-0 in the Champions League and more recently, just last weekend, Stoke 4-0 away from home. New striker Alvaro Morata scored a hattrick. This game is shaping up to be a classic, and there is little value in backing BTTS or over 2.5 goals for that reason. Finding good money in a clash such as this more often than not lies with backing a team.

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Our betting tips are favouring City because, in the space of those five games, they have conceded just once with a weakened side at West Brom. The majority of their issues last season came from defensive frailties, but Guardiola seems to have worked out a system which allows his side to remain as open as they were, playing just one defensive midfielder, but maintaining the width and creativity. Against Chelsea, it is likely we’ll see a repeat of the 4-3-3 system which saw Gabriel Jesus dropped. Sergio Aguero has scored six Premier League goals this season and is likely to lead the line.

It will likely be a tight game, meaning it could go right to the wire. City have a much stronger squad than Chelsea, and being able to call on the players like Jesus or Raheem Sterling who may start on the bench, makes a second half away win great value at 11/2. But 23/10 is kind for the draw, because Chelsea will look to shackle City, and their chances of taking a point will grow by doing so.

N’Golo Kante vs Kevin de Bruyne

Kevin de Bruyne’s role on his return to Stamford Bridge depends on Guardiola’s system. If, as expected, he plays three in the middle, the Belgian will be able to get forward a lot more, but if not he will sit deep to pull the strings alongside Fernandinho.

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Chelsea have not been as solid in midfield since Nemanja Matic left, with Cesc Fabregas adding another dimension in attack instead. Kante will have to watch both de Bruyne and Silva and it means Fabregas must maintain his discipline. If not, Kante could get outnumbered and it will be easier for them to break through. Conte will want City’s play to be in front of the midfield, so he may well surrender possession and look to keep the shape and hit on the counter attack. Either is such a risky strategy against a strong a side as Guardiola’s.

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