Manchester City vs. Chelsea – 4th March 2018.
In football, they say anything can happen. And this is exactly what Chelsea showed to us in their inspiring encounter at the Stamford Bridge against the Spanish giants, Barcelona. This was in their last match at the UEFA championship. Willian put the blues ahead until Messi drew level. Chelsea has been doing okay at continental meetings, but same cannot be said for them in their home league.
However last weekend’s encounter against the Red Devils was anything but inspiring. Their chance of finishing at the top four faced a huge set back when they lost to league no 2, Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Chelsea Lost the Previous Encounter
Chelsea and Manchester city are meeting for the second time this season. In their last encounter at the Stamford Bridge, Chelsea lost by a lone goal to Sharks. Chelsea will be looking to turn the tide this time around. At least keep their Champions League hopes alive.
Conte will be Under Pressure to Win
Conte has come under fire lately especially from soccer pundits and fans alike for his team’s underperformance. Some have even suggested that he be fired. As this is a far cry from the performance that saw his team lifting the Premier League trophy last season. Well, the Blues of Stamford Bridge will be looking to change this poor trend. And the next opportunity they have to do that will be this weekend on Sunday to be precise when they lock horns with the Blues of Etihad stadium.
Manchester City has been Magnificent This Season
Speaking about the Blues of Etihad, these guys have had a fine run this season. Being league leaders and ahead with 16 points they’ve all but won the League title. Last weekend they also won the Carabao cup after thumping Arsenal F.C 3-0 at the Wembley. All things being equal, they’ll win a double this season. And still being in the UEFA Champions League, they could also win it to make it a treble this year. Pep and his boys have such quality. This weekend though Pep Guardiola will be looking to extend his team’s lead at the top making it easier to win the league cup.
Last Matches Performance
Man city has won 4 of its last 6 matches at all competitions; it drew one against Burnley and then their shocking defeat at the Etihad to Wigan. Chelsea, however, has won just two of their last 6 matches’ losing 3 and drawing one.
Morata’s Goal Drought
Morata has been having a goal drought for the later part of the season. He is yet to score a goal in ten matches. This is very bad for Conte and for the club. Conte doesn’t seem to have lost confidence in him though as he started him against the loss at Old Trafford. We don’t know how long that confidence will last though; let’s see if he starts him against Man city or if he starts Giroud instead. Chelsea is still missing Diego Costa in front of goal. Hate him or love him, he was still able to score goals. It will take Morata time before he adjusts to the league. Until then, however, Chelsea will have to rely on the inspiring leadership of Eden Hazard.
Aguero is on Fire
The 5″ft8′ Argentine has been a source of worry for many a defender, despite his height disadvantage. He powers his way through and keeps getting goals. At the moment he is Manchester City’s highest goal scorer of all time and the third highest in the EPL this season. That is behind Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah. Though given the number of play times he’s had, he’s actually scoring better than they are. With him averaging one goal every 58 minutes. Chelsea will find a hard time containing this bully. And Aguero will be looking to score his 200th goal for City, and he’s very likely to score.
Injuries Making Things Worse for Chelsea
David Luiz, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Ross Barkley have been on the bench for a while, due to injury. Barkley just joined Chelsea this January from Everton and had played only three matches before suffering the hamstring injury. Things seem to be looking up for him though as he was seen in training with other Chelsea players. We are awaiting an official confirmation though, to know if he’ll be ready for the Manchester encounter. These injuries will only go to limit Conte’s options in the team.
Manchester Will be a Bit Tired
The Skye blues have been very busy; they’ve played twice in 5 days against the same team, different tournament though. And the scoreline has been the same. They’ve beaten Arsenal twice in a row with 3 un-replied goals, each time. Over the weekend it was at the Carabao finals and then on Thursday at the Emirates stadium. This win has given them a 16 point lead at the top of the table. They’ve all but won the League title for this season and in the process decimated Arsenal’s chance of getting a Champions League spot. After playing two matches in a space of 5 days with only Friday and Saturday to rest we can be sure that Pep Guardiola’s men will not be very fresh. This could give Chelsea the much-needed advantage to at least keep their Champions League hopes alive. It doesn’t mean they’ll take it though.
This season, Manchester City has a lot of momentum and this could see them winning this match. Chelsea needs this win though and they’ll do everything within their power to get it. Comparing the performance of the two teams this season, factoring in the tiredness of the Etihad men and also that Chelsea really needs to win, then this match will probably end in a draw. Come Sunday at the Etihad the Blues will meet the blues which one will come out on top? Only Sunday will tell.