Is it time to hit the panic button at Stamford Bridge, or even more stunningly, at the Etihad? Neither Manchester City nor Chelsea are where they would like to be at this point in the season; both sides are coming off of disappointing 1-1 draws after relinquishing leads against potential relegation sides; City now sit 8 points behind league-leaders Arsenal, albeit with a game in hand, while Chelsea are in 10th place, an even 10 points behind Manchester United for the fourth UCL spot in the Prem. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some Manchester City Vs. Chelsea predictions for their 1/5/23 matchup.
Manchester City vs. Chelsea Odds
Chelsea are big home underdogs, with their end of the three-way moneyline set at +450. City are an eye-popping -160 to win, while the draw is +320. For a total goalscoring line of 2.5, the over is -130 while the under is almost even money at +105.
Manchester City vs. Chelsea Prediction & Pick
Before the season, if you told a City fan that Liverpool would have completely fallen out of contention by Christmas, they’d probably think the league was already theirs- after all, how could anyone compete with the defending champs after they added the juggernaut known as Erling Haaland? But despite the fall of the Reds, that’s pretty far from the reality that Cityzens are experiencing right now, as the addition of Haaland has been a smashing success at an individual level, but the team still has issues as they’ve dropped points in an uncharacteristic 5 of their first 16 league matches. With the attack in great form, the issue is at the other end. After allowing 26 goals a year ago, they’re already up to 16 in this campaign, a rate of one per game. Not awful, but not the best when it comes to the pursuit of an incredible three-peat as Prem winners.
For Chelsea, despite a busy summer on the transfer front, the season has been a total disaster thus far, as the team has won just 7 out of 16 matches and has often really struggled to find goals. Newcomers Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have tallied just 5 goals in a combined 22 league matches thus far, although Sterling’s 4 actually has him tied with Kai Havertz for the team lead. In fact, only four Blues thus far have multiple goals in the Premier League, and one of those is Jorginho who, you guessed it, earned both of his league goals by converting penalties.
City are surely a daunting side to face at a time when your club is struggling, but when the issue is finding the back of the net, it’s worth thinking about the opportunities that might present themselves against a team that plays such an open game. City haven’t kept a Prem clean sheet since late October and they’ve seen just two total since the end of September; for Chelsea, Ederson and the back line might be just what the doctor ordered.
My pick is going to have to be City, as real as the problems are for this side, it’s tough to see them dropping points to a team in such poor form, even on the road. I don’t love the value of them in the minus, so keep an eye out for something closer to even money. For the goalscoring, I think the over is an awesome play. City score goals like nobody else, and as we’ve covered, they’re not afraid to concede them either. For this reason, I’m also a big fan of the “both teams to score” prop, which is currently sitting around -130.
Manchester City Attack vs. Chelsea Defense
Suffice it to say that the way they’ve played this season, Chelsea’s route to earning points in this match is not keeping pace with City’s high-flying attack; it’s limiting them. It may seem an impossible task at times, but if Brentford, Everton, Leicester, and even this year’s version of Liverpool could do it, so can the Blues, who have allowed fewer league goals than any of those sides. This is the end of the pitch where some of the summer arrivals have worked out a bit better. Rising star left back Marc Cucurella, who came over from Brighton, has been a definitive positive for Chelsea, as he’s been a legitimate bright spot in some of the tougher moments.
Veteran star Kalidou Koulibaly has not quite been his peak Napoli self in his debut at Stamford Bridge, but he’s been an unquestionable positive for the Blues nonetheless. He’s joined in central defense by fellow aging legend Thiago Silva, while team captain César Azpilicueta over at right back rounds out a very experienced group.
It’s going to be veteran savvy versus pure athleticism in the middle of the field, as Chelsea’s centre-backs will have to deal with the most unstoppable force the Prem has seen in quite some time, the Norweigan mega-star Erling Haaland. He’s scored almost every single match for City in the Prem, as his tally now sits at a ridiculous 21 goals through just 15 games. The craziest part, of course, is that he’s joining an attack that was already very much one of the best in the World. Riyad Mahrez, for instance, is having a down season by his standards, but has been one of the best wingers on the planet for years now.
Jack Grealish started on the left most recently, but Phil Foden has been a major presence this year, and we can also expect a bigger role for Julián Álvarez after an exceptional World Cup, although he does thrive most in the position currently occupied by Haaland. It’s a very deep, very talented attacking group for City, and Chelsea will surely have their hands full trying to lessen their impact.
The Midfield Battle
Of course, most of those numerous great scoring chances for Man City have been generated by the excellent play of their midfield, the centerpiece of which is of course the somehow-still-underappreciated Kevin De Bruyne. Proportionally, as in his total divided by second place, he leads the league in assists by almost as wide of a margin as Haaland leads for goals. He’s joined by Spanish international Rodri, who is putting in another excellent season in sky blue as the team’s defensive midfield anchor, and the also-underrated and extremely versatile Bernardo Silva, who has picked up five league assists himself.
These three players are not just stars in their own right, their strengths and relative weaknesses compliment each others’ incredibly well; De Bruyne the progressive, central passer, Silva the outside buildup machine, and Rodri the defensive and possession rock. For all of the attention the attack gets, Pep Guardiola always puts an emphasis on assembling an excellent midfield, and this year’s squad is no exception.
Chelsea’s midfield isn’t as star-studded of a group, although that is of course due in part to the injury-necessitated extended absence of the legendary N’Golo Kanté. The veteran star is now Jorginho, who is an important presence but is truthfully not having his best season; his 15 appearances in the league have actually included two off of the bench, and have amounted to only 11.8 90-minute periods. In the draw against Forest, he was joined in central/holding midfield by Denis Zakaria, who was relieved around the hour-mark by Croatia hero Mateo Kovacic, fresh off another excellent World Cup performance for his nation.
Serving as the link between midfield and attack is homegrown youngster Mason Mount, who has struggled a good bit this season, perhaps due to the adjustment to what has largely been life without Kanté. This group is going to have to do everything in their power to possess the hell out of the ball, slow the game down and limit the openness and big chances that City thrive on. If they’re careless with the ball, it’s going to be an extremely long evening at Stamford Bridge.