Chelsea and Manchester City are both firmly in position to qualify for next year’s Champions League, but these clubs have different aspirations when it comes to where they expect to finish in the table. At the start of the year, most Chelsea fans would have gladly accepted a top four finish given the state of the roster, but expectations are much loftier for Manchester City. The Citizens have won the Premier League in consecutive years with two of the best finishes in league history, and they were odds-on favorites to complete the threepeat this year. Anything less than another league title would be a disappointment for Pep Guardiola and City.
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- Manchester City vs Chelsea
- Date and Time: November 23, 2019, 12:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
- US Television Coverage: NBC
- Betting Line: Manchester City -1 and -1.5, O/U 3.5
City are sitting in fourth place after losing three of their first 12 matches. They were stunned by recently promoted Norwich City on the road 3-2 for their first loss of the year, as the Canaries showed that you can open up your offense against this team. Wolverhampton dealt City its second loss of the campaign by playing the deadly counterattacking style that Wolves are famous for, and the third loss came just before the international break against league leaders Liverpool.
The Reds smashed City in Anfield, scoring two goals inside of 13 minutes on their way to a 3-1 victory. Liverpool showed no fear against City who continued to show how much they missed Aymeric Laporte with a disappointing performance from their back line. John Stones has been particularly underwhelming at center back, and he has been the preferred whipping boy among fans.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are delighted to be in third place. The Blues were expected to take a step back due to the transfer ban and the loss of superstar Eden Hazard, but they have outperformed all expectations. They are 8-2-2 and one point ahead of City, yet there have been some problems in the back.
Kepa has not been as solid as he was last year, and the back line has struggled to stop quality opponents. Chelsea have allowed 17 goals this season, but things have gotten better in the back after the Blues surrendered 13 goals in their first six games.
Leroy Sane and Laporte are both long-term injuries for Manchester City. Pep Guardiola misses having both players in the lineup, and he is hoping that they get healthy soon. Oleksandr Zinchenko is out for another couple weeks with a knee injury, and Bernardo Silva has been suspended for this Premier League match. Ederson is ready to return to action though, giving City its No. 1 goalkeeper back.
Marco van Ginkel has been out for over a year, and Chelsea won’t have Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Antonio Rudiger available for the next few weeks either. Christian Pulisic is doubtful to be available for selection after a hip injury kept him sidelined during the international break, and Ross Barkley is questionable.
Chelsea Player to Watch
Tammy Abraham has been incredible for the Blues this season. While most American pundits have highlighted Pulisic, Abraham is the main reason why Chelsea are in third place. He has had a breakout year after coming into his own with Aston Villa last season, and his 10 goals are the second-most in the Premier League.
Manchester City Player to Watch
Kevin De Bruyne is the best set-up man in the Premier League. His nine assists are the most in England, and he is the key to it all for the Citizens. The Belgian midfielder is one of the main reasons why Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero are both threats to win the Golden Boot, and N’Golo Kante will look to shut him down on Saturday.
The Blues have fixed a lot of their problems in the back, but it’s going to be tough for them to overcome City on the road.
English Premier League Prediction: Manchester City 2, Chelsea 1
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