The game of the season so far in the Premier League takes place on Saturday as defending champions Man City head to Champions League holders Chelsea. Mark O'Haire analyses the odds from Stamford Bridge.
"The Blues’ record under Tuchel against elite opposition remains fiercely strong with the hosts returning W12-D3-L2 in Champions League matches and against fellow Big Six outfits"
Chelsea impress at Spurs
Chelsea stretched their unbeaten Premier League run to five games as Thomas Tuchel's team deservedly beat Tottenham last weekend. After managing no shots on-target in the first half, the Blues shifted system at half-time and looked like a different team after the break, scoring three unanswered second-half goals to secure top honours.
The Blues opened their account four minutes after the re-start, when Thiago Silva headed home from Marcos Alonso's corner. Half-time substitute N'Golo Kante added a second with his first goal in 49 league appearances, though his long-range effort took a major deflection, and Antonio Rudiger found the bottom corner in injury time to complete the victory.
Speaking post-match, Tuchel said: "We were too sloppy, we were not sharp enough in the first 45 minutes. They approached the derby with a lot of energy and we lacked a little bit. We relied too much on skills, but its not just about skilful play - we also have to impress with work rate and intensity and we had to step up to earn a better result. And that is what we did."
Edouard Mendy and Christian Pulisic are expected to return to the fold for Saturday's clash.
City fail to fire
A strangely shot-shy Manchester City could not find a way through a resolute Southampton side last week as the Citizens played out a rare goalless draw at The Etihad. Pep Guardiola's group, who did not manage a single shot on target until the 90th minute, were sloppy in possession, and lacked their usual spark in forward areas during a disappointing display.
City were arguably even fortunate to take a share of the spoils; the visitors were awarded a penalty on the hour mark when Kyle Walker was sent off for bundling Adam Armstrong over in the box, but both decisions were overturned when VAR intervened. Meanwhile, City did have the ball in the net late on, although Raheem Sterling was flagged offside.
The draw leaves City three points behind the leaders with Guardiola admitting his team weren't at their best. He said, "We were not good in our build-up and we lost simple balls with our passes because we were not clever, and a little bit sloppy. We didn't win because our process, to play and create better balls for the players up front, was not good."
The Citizens have a number of injury concerns coming into Saturday's showdown. Aymeric Laporte, John Stones, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko have all been ruled out, or are considered major doubts for the trip to the capital.
Chelsea have won all three meetings with Manchester City since Thomas Tuchel was appointed. The Blues were victories in their FA Cup showdown, during their most recent Premier League match-up, and the Champions League final. Interestingly, none of the past 12 Premier League meetings between the pair have ended all-square.
Chelsea 2.829/5 have endured a difficult opening stanza to 2021/22 yet remain unbeaten through five league fixtures despite trips to Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs already. The Blues' record under Tuchel against elite opposition remains fiercely strong with the hosts returning W12-D3-L2 in Champions League matches and against fellow Big Six outfits.
Manchester City 2.8615/8 have failed to score in two of their five Premier League games this term, as many as they had in their previous 30 in the competition. Nevertheless, the Citizens have impressed in the performance data metrics, sitting top of the tree for chances, shots and xG conceded, while only Liverpool have generated more goalmouth opportunities.
Chelsea's penchant to keep matches tight under Thomas Tuchel is no secret with the Blues keen to control contests as often as possible.
The West Londoners have seen five of their seven league fixtures against the Big Six sides under the German produce Under 2.5 Goals 1.824/5, with four of those match-ups also featuring no more than a solitary strike.
With Manchester City potentially missing a few key personnel in the spine of the side, plus recent defeats against Chelsea fresh in the memory, Pep Guardiola could look to take a more cautious approach at Stamford Bridge considering what's at stake. With that in mind, opposing a high-scoring showdown in the capital holds plenty of appeal.
However, the 1.758/11 available on Chelsea Double Chance and Under 3.5 Goals is the eye-catching angle. Only two of the Blues' 36 games across all competitions during Tuchel's reign have produced four or more goals and the hosts' have proven their ability at grinding out positive performances in the matches that matter over the past nine months.
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