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