Premier League: Predicting Chelsea vs Manchester City

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk at Etihad Stadium on September 26, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk at Etihad Stadium on September 26, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) /

A clash between Chelsea and Manchester City will headline Saturday’s Premier League games, but which side has the advantage?

When Chelsea takes on Man City, it will be a real battle of title contenders. Their match is headlining the day of games, and with the right result, Chelsea can create a three-way points tie for first place.

The standings aren’t the only thing that indicates that these two clubs are close to each other. They’ve both picked up notable wins so far, and while City has been more dominant, Chelsea’s smaller margins of victory look more sustainable. You could say that, along with Manchester United, the top three clubs in the league are nearly even with each other.

So which title contender has the edge when they meet on Saturday, despite their form being almost even?

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Chelsea lost to Burnley on opening day, but hasn’t lost in any competition since then. They haven’t just beaten mid table teams either.

Their most recent result is a 2-1 away win against Atletico Madrid, a team known for defending their home ground and playing better in front of their own fans. They showed that they can keep composed under pressure, too, when Michy Batshuayi won the match in stoppage time.

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Manchester City, however, is in even better form. Unlike Chelsea, they haven’t tasted defeat this season. They’re not winning by close margins, either. They defeated Feyenoord 4-0 in Rotterdam. Their away win against Watford had a 6-0 margin of victory. Their last Premier League match was a 5-0 win over Crystal Palace.

There’s no real advantage here for either club. City’s results might look slightly better on paper, but Chelsea has some big wins of their own. They’re also coming off of an away win against a tougher opponent.

Advantage: Even

Lineups and formations

Both clubs have some of the most talented and valuable lineups in the entire league. However, they’re structured a bit differently.

Manchester City has chosen to use a multiple forward look, and they usually pair Gabriel Jesus with Sergio Aguero or one of their other forwards, such as Leroy Sané or Raheem Sterling. Sometimes they use two forwards and sometimes they use three, but their strategy is quite different from Chelsea’s.

City is a plain 4-3-3, but Chelsea might go into this match with a 3-4-2-1. They prefer to have a versatile midfield that can make plays or help out the three dedicated defenders. They also have two attacking midfielders, while City sacrifices that in favor of their multiple forwards.

Chelsea will most likely start the match with just one striker up front, Alvaro Morata. Eden Hazard will play behind him, and will be a playmaker rather than an actual attacker. He may, however, be joined by a player like Pedro or Willian.

The Chelsea system is more defensively sound from a formation perspective. While Manchester City has only conceded two goals in the league, that isn’t something that should last for a long time. Chelsea has conceded more so far, but their team structure forces their opponents to work through a more crowded midfield.

On the other hand, City’s actual defenders are definitely rated higher than Chelsea’s. Kyle Walker and Danilo maintain high match ratings and have made an instant impact as signings. The three-man back line at Chelsea is shakier, and needs more assistance from the midfield.

The tiebreaker in this category should come from the forward position, and Chelsea has the edge because of an injury. Sergio Aguero was injured in a car accident, and isn’t available for the match. As a result, they can’t lean on the partnership of Aguero and Jesus. Chelsea won’t need any changes in their attack, and they have the advantage in the battle of lineups.

Advantage: Chelsea

Star players

Matches are often decided by the superstars, and Aguero’s absence will hurt City in that area. Right now, Aguero is responsible for the most goals of any player in the Premier League. He has six goals, along with Alvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku, but has more assists than either of those players.

City will have to lean more heavily on their other main scorer, Raheem Sterling. Sterling has five goals, but more impressively, he’s currently scoring at a rate of one goal every 59 minutes. Sterling has four appearances as a substitute, however, and might not adjust well to being one of the side’s main weapons in a massive match like this one.

Likewise, Gabriel Jesus has four goals, but will be playing under different circumstances. His best play has come from a partnership with Aguero, and that was how the team was set up when he scored a brace against Liverpool.

Chelsea doesn’t have as many threats to score a winner, but the ones that they do have shouldn’t be underestimated. Morata hasn’t shown signs of slowing down, and scored in the Champions League win in Madrid. Before that, he had a hat trick against Stoke.

Eden Hazard hasn’t been in his typical form, but he’s another threat. When Morata scored in Madrid, it was Hazard that had the assist. Overall, both teams have their star players, but Chelsea’s are playing under more familiar circumstances and are already coming off of a win versus one of the best clubs in Spain. They get the advantage here, even if it’s just because of the Aguero injury.

Advantage: Chelsea


While Chelsea has the advantage in two out of the three categories listed here, they shouldn’t be considered the big favorite. You can’t really pick a favorite in a match between two teams that are doing this well, but the injury to Sergio Aguero and the form of Alvaro Morata gives Chelsea a slight edge.

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With that being said, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling are always dangerous, and may have a good day against a relatively shaky Chelsea back three. City would be favorites if they were playing at their own ground, but this match is at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea fans have shown that they can still create a top class atmosphere for the biggest matches, such as this one.

City will keep it very close, and this match will likely go down to the second half or even the late stages, but in the end, Alvaro Morata and the home crowd advantage should lift Chelsea to victory.

Prediction: Chelsea 3-2 Manchester City