English Premier League. Week 14
December 3, 13:30 CET
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Referee: Anthony Taylor, England
Manchester City and Chelsea have been equal opponents if we take the recent years as one time period. Both were champions at some point, both had inglorious fractions and both have changed their managers before this season. Moreover, Josep Guardiola and Antonio Conte being coaches with unique style of play have immediately changed their teams ahead of the season. Which is better? Spanish tiki-taka or Italian wall-defense? The game promises to reveal which style integrates better in the English Premier League.
The clash is one of those which can change the whole table top. These teams have shown more or less stable start of the season thus having their places affirmed in the top-4 before the start of week 14.
However, Chelsea being on top of the table right now is not a result of the good start. The idea behind this is that Antonio Conte’s team have not lost since their failure in Arsenal clash (3-0). This game, by the way, was more than two months ago. After that they have won all seven games, and in terms of form, they are even more ready to head the table than City.
Guardiola’s team, in turn are not losing as well. However, they have drawn two of their last three EPL games. Middlesbrough (1-1) and Southampton (1-1) failures show that this team is can lose points in matches in which they were not expected to lose any. This fact shows that Guardiola has not yet succeeded to stabilize the team, and the big lineup rotations are a proof for the above mentioned statement.
As mentioned earlier, these teams are relatively equal in the recent years. And the numbers are here to prove the relative equality. The last ten competitive games between these teams have the following patters: Cheslea won three times, Manchester City five times, two clashes ended as draws. If we take home clashes, however, the Citizens seem to have a higher chance. Three wins and a draw in the last five games, accompanied with a loss back in 2014.
Fortunately, not so many injuries have strike the teams’ squads. Both Manchester City and Chelsea will lack their main characters in the centre-back, Vincent Kompany and John Terry, however, both these injuries are long-tem. Sterling and Delph are back for City, though they are not expected to be fit for the Saturday clash. Same story is observed in Chelsea squad, regarding Zouma, Van Ginkel and John Obi Mikel.