Two Premier League sides that are having very different seasons meet when Chelsea host Manchester City in Monday night’s late kick-off. 

So far this season Manchester City have emerged as THE team to catch in the title race, and it seems that the money spent on them (seemingly a gazillion pounds) is finally being turned into games won, while Chelsea (who won the league just two seasons ago) already seem like also-rans this season.

Sergio AgueroChelsea are 14/1 with some sportsbooks to take the EPL trophy this year, 79/100 to finish in the top three and 11/8 to finish as the top London club. In fact City’s Samir Nasri insists that it’s Manchester United who pose the only significant title threat to City. United are currently two points behind the league leaders, but have played one more game. "It will be difficult when we play Chelsea, but we knew it would also be difficult going to places like Spurs, Man United and Liverpool - and we had great results against those teams. I don’t know what we have to fear about Chelsea. Man United are the threat to us," said Nasri.

Over in the Champions League it’s a very different story, as Chelsea silenced their critics and progressed to the last 16 with a 3-0 victory over Valencia, while Manchester City (who beat Bayern Munich 2-0  in their final group stage game) now face Europa League football as they finished third in their group.

Expect City give Chelsea a real workout

History favours the Blues as they have won five of their last six home matches against City. In fact the only defeat in the last 13 was a 4-2 back in 2007 when Carlos (striker non-grata) Tevez and Craig (now plays for Liverpool) Bellamy scored a pair of goals apiece. That score is at an unlikely 50/1 in the soccer odds this time round.

It’s obvious to everyone that City are a different beast these days, so I’d disregard those history books and concentrate on that fact that City are unbeaten in the league and their last eight away games read two draws and six wins. The league leaders have picked up a stonking 38 points in this season’s 14 matches - the most by a top-flight club at this stage of the season since Liverpool also had 38 in the 1990-91 season (when they finished runners-up to Arsenal). Roberto Mancini's little boys blue have scored 48 league goals, that’s a record only bettered (at this stage of a season) by Tottenham way back in 1962. At the risk of sounding like a City fan, it’s worth mentioning that they have been behind in a league game for only 15 (combined) minutes all season.

Chelsea will not go gently and their current form is impressive (if slightly less so) with back to back 3-0 league wins (against Wolves and Newcastle). But, be warned 3-0 to the home side is at 22/1 with the bookies. You might want to back Frank Lampard to get a goal as he’s scored five goals in his last nine league matches against City and will be making his 350th Premier League start for Chelsea. If he begins Monday's match on the pitch, he’s at 17/2 to open the scoring. Or if you’re feeling flush back Didier Drogba to score a hatrick as that would take his tally to 100 goals in the EPL. It’s long odds at 80/1, but maybe worth a LOL bet.  In fact bet on SOMEONE getting a goal for Chelsea as City have failed to keep a single clean sheet in their last seven league matches, and despite their league position that’s their worst defensive run for two years.

Bet on goals

Manchester City are averaging over three goals a game. Their current run of 17 league matches without defeat has only ever been bettered by four sides in Premier League history, although one of those was Chelsea. If Chelsea are bested by City (an away win is at 9/5) they will be a massive 13 points behind the leaders by bedtime on Monday night. You might be tempted to have a little punt on Andre Villas-Boas being the next Premier League manager issued with a P-45; he’s currently at 6/1, and while defeat to the team at the top of the table is hardly the end of the world, failure to keep pace with the Manchesters will add pressure to AV-B and make the Champions League the prize for Chelsea, they are currently at 5/1 to reach the final and 10/1 to lift that trophy.

Villas-Boas has faced a barrage of criticism from pundits, such as Gary Neville and Liverpool legends Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness. But he is not taking it lying down, "Most of these people we are speaking about have a direct past related to single clubs, which are their favourite clubs, which in the end brings a likely biased position in their opinion-making," he said. Let’s see what he has to say when City prove the gulf between the once and future champions.

Prediction: City win 3-1 at a very tempting 20/1.