Why Pep Guardiola should fear Antonio Conte’s clinical Chelsea side
Every Premier League campaign is littered with season-defining moments and Chelsea’s 3-1 victory at the Etihad last December was certainly one of them. That result enabled the Blues to take a firm stranglehold on the title race and they never looked back. City imploded on the day, having both Fernandinho and Sergio Agüero dismissed but it was the manner of Chelsea’s win that typified their season.
Simply put, the Blues were clinical in front of goal, surpassing their seasonal xG figure by over 22 goals. This was evident in the aforementioned game at the Etihad where the Citizens had the better chances, with Kevin De Bruyne most culpable, after failing to put away a guilt-edged chance. Expected goals gurus Understat recorded figures of 2.28 for the home side, compared with 1.28 for the visitors on this occasion.
The trend seems to be continuing this season as well, with the Blues having already scored over 5 goals more than they would have been expected to, based on the nature of the scoring chances they have created. Pep Guardiola should be concerned!
Team news & predicted starting line-ups for Chelsea v Man City
David Luiz completes his 3-match ban for the Blues, having been dismissed for a reckless challenge on Arsenal’s Sead Kolašinac earlier this month.
Manchester City have been blazing the goal trail of late but Guardiola will have to make do without star striker Sergio Agüero here following his unfortunate accident in Amsterdam.
Chelsea team news
Danny Drinkwater is still ruled out following his deadline day move from Leicester City, while Eden Hazard is pushing for a start after being eased back into first team action. Willian could be the man to make way, in Conte’s preferred 3-4-3.
Chelsea fantasy player to watch
Álvaro Morata proved that there is much more to his game than just an aerial threat when he bagged a hat-trick against Stoke City last weekend in Chelsea’s 4-0 romp.
The early signs suggest that he is more than capable of filling the sizeable void left by Diego Costa’s departure, so the City game should provide more clues as to just how good he is.
Predicted Chelsea Starting XI
Man City team news
Guardiola will be hoping that Vincent Kompany is fit enough to be involved but Benjamin Mendy has undergone surgery and is not expected back until April.
Gabriel Jesus is expected to lead the line in Agüero’s absence.
Man City fantasy player to watch
David Silva has 6 Premier League assists to his name already, illustrating perfectly why he has earned that ‘very strong’ WhoScored characteristic for key passes.
The Spanish international looks a certain starter and is set for an intriguing match-up against the brilliant N’Golo Kanté.
Predicted Man City Starting XI
It remains to be seen for just how long Chelsea can retain such ruthlessness in front of goal but Conte for one, will be hoping that it continues this weekend!
Will champions’ Chelsea upset title favourites’ City in the Saturday evening kick-off?