By: Matt Szeliga
Manchester City at Chelsea
Spread: Man City -1 (+330) Chelsea +1 (-150); O/U: 2.5
Moneyline: Chelsea +220, Man City +120, Draw +250
Time/Location: 11:30 ET, Stamford Bridge, London, England
Chelsea has fallen out of form after their loss to Everton in early December. The squad’s failure to perform lost Chelsea 11 points from the club’s draw and three losses during December. As usual, Frank Lampard’s efficacy as manager of the club has been called into question due to his expensive signings failure to perform on the pitch; amidst the team’s poor results. Also, it has been reported that Reece James and Hakim Ziyech will not be available for the fixture against Manchester City.
In my opinion, the best attacking player on Chelsea is Olivier Giroud due to his consistency in finding the back of the net through well-timed runs. If Lampard’s side is to win against City, Olivier Giroud will have to perform at a high level. Chelsea currently sits at 6th Place in the Premier League table, tied with Aston Villa and Manchester City with 26 points. Lampard made some changes to the lineup for their fixture against Aston Villa however, shuffling players did not pay dividends. Chelsea seemingly find themselves at an advantage ahead of this match due to five of Manchester City’s players testing positive for Coronavirus.
Manchester City (DWWLD)
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola announced that Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker, and three other unknown Man City players tested positive for coronavirus. The 5 players who tested positive will not be available for Sunday’s match. Manchester City needs a win against Chelsea to begin a possible title run. The absence of Jesus and Walker wasn’t apparent during their fixture against Newcastle on boxing day. Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres were able to score in the team’s victory. Though fit Sergio Aguero has been struggling with various ailments, and this could tactically be a problem for Pep Guardiola.
Pep Guardiola didn’t reveal the identities of the 3 players who tested positive for coronavirus alongside Walker and Jesus. Ederson seemingly confirmed on social media that he is self-isolating and will not be available. Therefore, American goalkeeper Zack Steffen is set to debut for his first premier league game if Ederson’s self-isolation reports are true. Unlike Chelsea, the Citizens’ form as of late has been pristine, as Man City is unbeaten in its last 6 fixtures in Premier League competitions.
Analysis and Pick
Sunday’s fixture at Stamford Bridge will be the 166th meeting between Manchester City and Chelsea and all competitions, all-time Chelsea lead 68-58. Manchester City’s defense tends to collapse against decent attacking teams, and without Kyle Walker in the starting XI, issues are sure to arise for the Citizens. Chelsea themselves have beaten themselves by failing to capitalize on goal opportunities in the final third this season. My best bets are Man City ML (+120) & Over @2.5 (-136).