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Manchester City host Chelsea on Saturday afternoon, with the Manchester side looking to usurp Chelsea at the top of the Premier League, while the London side will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the league.

Form Guide:

Manchester City are on a 6 game unbeaten run in all competitions. Since they last lost, against Manchester United back in October, City have managed 4 wins in 6 games, 3 of which in the Premier League, with 1 of those wins coming against Barcelona. However, City are currently on a run of 3 draws in a row at home in the league, with their last win being against Bournemouth in September.

Chelsea, meanwhile, go into this encounter at the Etihad on the back of 4 straight wins in all competitions, and 7 straight wins in the Premier League. In fact, they haven’t lost in the league since a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal back in September. In that time, Antonio Conte’s men have scored 19 and conceded just 1.

Team News:

Pep Guardiola’s side will be without Vincent Kompany, who is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a medial ligament injury. However, Delph and Sterling are expected to be available, despite the latter walking off against Burnley.

Antonio Conte’s side will remain without captain John Terry (glute injury), John Obi Mikel (muscular), and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has been struggling with a back injury. However, Chelsea will have the services of Willian after he returned against Tottenham, while Cesc Fabregas returned a couple of weeks ago after recovering from injury.

Head-To-Head:

The last 5 games between the 2 sides have seen Manchester City pick up 2 wins, both 3-0, while Chelsea have picked up 1 win (a 5-1 FA Cup win back in February), and 2 draws.

The last time these 2 teams faced was in April, when Manchester City beat Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, with Aguero bagging a hattrick.

Key Clash:

Sergio Aguero vs David Luiz:

Sergio Aguero has scored 10 goals in 10 Premier League games, and has scored 112 Premier League goals in total. While Diego Costa will obviously prove to be a handful for City at the other end, considering the pattern that the game is likely to take (Guardiola’s teams will dominate possession), Luiz will have to be at his very best to stop the Argentinian.

Despite initial scepticism, David Luiz has been impressive in his 2nd run at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea averaging 2.33 points per game in the games that he has played in. However, against Manchester City, Luiz faces a bigger test than he has faced before in Sergio Aguero.

If Luiz is able to handle Aguero and prevent him from doing much damage to the Chelsea defence, Conte’s side will be one step closer to earning an important win in the title race.

Facts and Stats:

  • Chelsea have played Manchester City a total of 71 times on home turf, with the London side winning 35 times, Manchester City winning 22 times, and the two sides drawing 14 times.
  • If Sergio Aguero scores this weekend, he will equal Ian Wright’s tally of 113 Premier League goals.
  • Neither Diego Costa nor Eden Hazard have ever scored against Manchester City for Chelsea in the league since signing for the club.
  • The only time both players have ever scored vs City was in a 5-1 win in February in the FA Cup. In that game, both players scored once.
  • Chelsea have not beaten City at the Etihad since beating City 1-0 in 2014.
  • This will be the first ever encounter between Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola.

Verdict:

Saturdays encounter between Chelsea and Manchester City is sure to be a massive game in determining the destination of the Premier League title. A win for either team will establish that team as firm favourites for the title, despite the presence of Liverpool and Arsenal as hopeful challengers.

While the presence of high-profile names like Silva, De Bruyne, and Aguero will give City a chance, it is difficult to look past Chelsea for all 3 points on Saturday. Not only do Chelsea have the joint best defensive record (with Spurs) having conceded just 10 goals, but they also have the joint 2nd best attack having scored 29 goals (with City themselves). The tactical prowess of Antonio Conte, who has brought the best out of the likes of Hazard, Costa, Kante, Matic, and Luiz, will be what gives Chelsea the edge in a game which Guardiola’s men are sure to dominate in terms of possession.

Prediction: Manchester City 1-2 Chelsea.

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