Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: Manchester City vs Chelsea Preview

Manchester City vs Chelsea Preview

Raheem Sterling and N'golo Kante

The beauty in this game is found in the many sub-plots at play here. Manchester City adversely affected by COVID-19, Chelsea losing their way a little bit toward the turn of the year, the Lukaku saga, and the two managers with expert ability and influence all nicely tied into a Premier League gift.

The game has already caught the imagination without even having a ball kicked, you don’t want to miss it and you certainly want to have bet running when you watch it!

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English Premier League
Saturday 15 January
Etihad Stadium

To Win
Manchester City 13/20
Draw 29/10
Chelsea 38/10

Manchester City

The only thing I’m grateful to City for this season – besides the beautiful football they put on display – is having my vocabulary steadily improved. Each week they play, you must call upon the list of synonyms for “brilliant”, “exquisite”, “incredible” …you get my point.

At the time of writing this article, Pep Guardiola is set to return to the dugout for the Chelsea fixture but that doesn’t mean City are out of the woods. City declined to mention the names of the players who had to isolate due to COVID-19 positive tests or exposure, but all of Ederson, John Stones, Aleks Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling were not involved in their FA Cup clash against Swindon.

Obviously, we now live in a vastly different world, and the impact and situation with COVID-19 is fluid and always evolving. We never want to see a team crippled by the virus and the game subsequently postponed…but at the same time there needs to be an acceptance of our human reality.

Anyway, City are in irresistible form, but truth be told, I’m not so sure they are as untouchable as we might have made them out to be. The quality of player at the Etihad coupled with the coaching identities and preparation make them a seriously talented football club, one we can all admire and appreciate in the league…but they can be asked questions and I’m not too convinced about them in uncomfortable situations.

When Palace beat them late last year, the Eagles made everything about the game untidy and almost “Un-City”. Arsenal would have felt they deserved more from their more recent game and in my opinion, again they made life difficult for their visitors. City were not allowed to boss the ball around the Emirates and the physicality monitor went up a good few notches.

Thomas Tuchel is as good a manager, so I’m very intrigued to see the tactic employed come Saturday.

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Naturally all the talk and focus on Chelsea now has been Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker was left out of the squad that faced Liverpool, with Thomas Tuchel opting to save the integrity of the preparation for the match – what a coach!

To be completely honest, I’m a little confused by the hatred directed at Lukaku. Of course, his comments were unsavory and completely unnecessary, but he doesn’t now magically hate the club, nor does he not want to play for the London side. In fact, I would hope Tuchel uses this as a way of bringing something even more aggressive and actionable for his number nine.

Lukaku has always seemed to be a player who plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, hitting out at trolls on social media who berate his first touch, or his size or often even his skin colour. The beauty of Lukaku however, was all these things were (whether for better or worse) used to fuel and incredible display on the pitch to silence any doubters or prove the ultimate point.

Surely this is the angle Chelsea fans should be wanting and possibly even reveling in.

Last time out in the league, Chelsea played out to a 2-2 draw with Liverpool, a result obviously suited to City. Now while it isn’t the result that either side would have wanted, the fight shown by Chelsea was extraordinary. The quality needed to perform in such a way is unquestionable and then to come away with a point, all things considered, is not all doom and gloom.

This is the sort of game where Chelsea needs to target a massive performance. Drawing on the examples of Palace and Arsenal – City need to feel uncomfortable. Even if they are playing on their home patch, in fact possibly more so.

Now I say this with the greatest amount of respect, but the fact remains this; City haven’t exactly got the supporter who arrives at the Etihad and understands what it’s like to make the place a fortress…or when their side require a twelfth player on the field. This is usually simply down to the quality on the field.

I think if Chelsea is able get into the game early and dominate even small parts of it, this game might just give the visitors a wave of momentum which might go on to end anywhere.

Prediction: Chelsea (+1) Handicap (1/1)

It is certainly the result the league will revel in, only because the knock-on effect might see the league open up. Nevertheless, purely from a betting point of view, Chelsea has the players to get a result here. I think it’s the perfect opportunity for a player like Lukaku to make a statement and its almost just set-up perfectly.

There is enough value in the prediction, so I won’t need to employ persuasion to the point of overkill – but whilst it isn’t a bet for the multiples, I think it’s worth a punt on the nose.

Written by Ryan Liberty