Prediction: Manchester City vs Chelsea
Verdict: Manchester City win and over 2.5 goals
Best Odds:Â 21/20
With the chance to reclaim top spot, Manchester City will welcome Chelsea to the Etihad on Sunday afternoon.
Starting with Sundayâ€™s hosts, coming off the back of yet another impressive showing in their 2-0 win away at Goodison Park in midweek, Pep Guardiolaâ€™s side can once again end the week at the top of the table. Now on a run of form that has seen them win six of their last seven Premier League outings, it has been their form in Manchester that has played a huge part in their push to dethrone Liverpool. Putting three past Arsenal last week, City have the divisionâ€™s best home record this season, with 12 wins from 13 games. Now scoring a remarkable 27 goals in their last five matches on home soil, one man to watch for the Sky Blues will be leading goalscorer, Sergio Aguero. Bagging a hat-trick against Arsenal in his last appearance at the Etihad, the Argentinian marksman has 22 goals in his 15 most recent Premier League starts at home, scoring in each of the last six.
Manchester City are expected to recall Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling after both were named as substitutes in Wednesdayâ€™s win at Everton.
Benjamin Mendy, Vincent Kompany and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo have again been ruled out.
As for the visitors, while Chelsea may have managed to pick up an expected 5-0 win over relegation favourites Huddersfield last weekend, the mood around Stamford Bridge has many worried. Now sat outside of the Champions League positions and in a real battle to secure a top-four finish, the pressure is really starting to mount on Maurizio Sarri. It will be the Bluesâ€™ recent performances on the road that will be giving the former Napoli boss the biggest headache. Slumping to a very surprising 4-0 loss away at Bournemouth in their last match away from West London, the former Premier League champions have now lost their last three matches on the road and have remarkably failed to register an away goal in over 300 minuets. If Sundayâ€™s visitors are to pull off a surprise victory this weekend, Chelsea will be looking for January signingÂ Gonzalo Higuain to lead their charge. Scoring a brace last weekend, the 31-year-oldÂ has scored 38 goals in 37 league appearances under Sarri.
Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger is expected to overcome the knee injury that kept him out against Huddersfield.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Gary Cahill are being monitored due to a fever and minor back injury respectively.
Key Factors to Consider
- This will be the third meeting this season, and they will also face each other in the League Cup final on 24 February. City won 2-0 in Augustâ€™s Community Shield, while Chelsea were 2-0 victors in Decemberâ€™s reverse league fixture.
- City have the divisionâ€™s best home record this season, with 12 wins from 13 games.
- They could become the first club to score multiple goals in 15 consecutive top-flight home fixtures since Tottenham had a run of 16 in a row from March to December 1965.
- Chelsea are winless in six Premier League away fixtures against established top-six rivals, losing each of the last four.
- The Blues have also now lost their last three away matches.
On paper, Pep Guardiola should see this as the perfect opportunity to once again reclaim top spot. Given Cityâ€™s lethal form at the Etihad, coupled with Chelseaâ€™s woeful run of form away from West London, weâ€™re backing the defending champions to pick up three points and a convincing victory.
Verdict:Â Manchester City win and over 2.5 goalsÂ
Best Odds:Â 21/20