Chelsea face Manchester City this weekend, and even the best online bookies are offering pretty long odds on the Blues. We’re generally considered about 4.2 to win the game, meaning £1 staked on a Chelsea win at the City of Manchester Stadium would return £4.20 including the stake.
Our victory over Fulham hasn’t convinced too many people, and the comprehensive defeat to Spurs combined with the memory of our comfortable defeat by City in the Community Shield means we’re considered a long shot.
As the Manchester City official website happened to mention, that was the Citizens’ third win over us in a row. It’s a worrying trend. Since beating Pep’s team in winter 2016 in the game that ultimately set us up to win the title, we’ve been unable to really make much of an impact on them.
The game in the Community Shield saw us completely outclassed, and it’s not clear if much has changed since then. If anything, City are looking stronger, and while we’ve gained some fluency in Maurizio Sarri’s system, we still look very defensively weak against the top teams – as we saw at Wembley two weeks ago.
However the absence of Sergio Aguero will be a massive boost for us. Gabriel Jesus is not in great form – although there are about 5 or 6 City players who are. They’ve just beaten in form Bournemouth, following wins against West Ham, Man U, Shakhtar and Southampton.
In fact, it’s easier to list the games they haven’t won. Since beating us in the Community Shield, they’ve won every game, apart from a draw with Wolves, a draw with Liverpool, and a draw and a loss to Lyon. That means of their 22 games, they’ve failed to win only 4. Pretty good going.
Even in the rotated team that played against Watford on Tuesday night featured Leroy Sane and Riyah Mahrez in ominous form from our perspective. Whether we will rest players in our game against Wolves tonight remains to be seen, but we expect that to be the case.
Our record this season is great, but we’ve not looked nearly as comfortable as City in many of those games, and in the big fixtures we’ve come up short – despite good results against Arsenal and Liverpool.
This will be a defining game for our season, and for the rest of the league if we can find a gap in their armour. A win will still leave us a long way behind, but a defeat will all but rule us out of a title race we didn’t expect to be in.