The Premier League returns once again this weekend and in the midst of all 10 fixtures lies the most important game of the season thus far – Chelsea vs Manchester City. These two sides, who last battled it out in the Champions League final earlier this year, are widely considered to be the two favourites to lift the Premier League title.
Whether or not they actually pull it off is a different matter altogether but this clash at Stamford Bridge is going to tell us a whole lot about how well they’re set up for the remainder of the campaign. After all, the title race is well and truly underway even if we’re only in the early stages of it.
Chelsea are currently priced at 17/10 with William Hill to walk away with the victory which, all in all, sounds about right. They’re the hosts and will therefore be viewed as the slight favourites by some, but Thomas Tuchel knows and understands just how dangerous this City team is when they get going.
Speaking of, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are 7/4 with Betfair to pull off what would easily be their biggest and best win of the season thus far. They’re one of the best teams in world football and even though they’ve slipped up a few times in the league against Tottenham and Southampton, taking them lightly is a fool’s game.
Romelu Lukaku is 10/3 with Betfred to be the first goalscorer in this match and is anyone really that surprised? We’re talking about one of the best strikers in the game right now who always seems to show up when it matters the most. He’s strong, fast and knows how to put the ball in the back of the net – and he’ll be hungry for goals on Saturday.
This has all the makings of an absolute classic between two clubs who are ready to cause some serious waves in the next few months. When it comes down to it, though, Chelsea have the knowledge and experience that comes with beating Manchester City three times in their last three meetings – with those games all taking place in April and May of this year.
From a psychological point of view that’s got to have some kind of impact on Guardiola and his preparation for this contest. He understands what the Blues can do and how efficient they’ve been since Tuchel took charge – which is why this fixture is especially scary for their title aspirations.
We’re going to back a 1-1 draw here that won’t particularly suit either side, but will certainly offer up a real boost to Liverpool and Manchester United.
This title race is as wide open as it has been in a long time and even though contenders may fall away by the time we get to January, we’d argue there are still four teams very much in the running.
City will likely go behind before pegging Chelsea back which, if nothing else, will stop the rot of them constantly losing to Tuchel’s men.