By the time the 2017-18 season is complete, Manchester City and Chelsea will have combined to have won every Premier League title but one since 2012-13 (Manchester United). The lone exception will have been Leicester City in 2015-16. Thus, tomorrow afternoon’s clash at The Etihad between City and Chelsea is a true blockbuster; despite the fact that one side is so heavily favored.
The hosts should be heavy favorites in this one, and the manager of the visiting underdogs, Chelsea’s Antonio Conte, probably wouldn’t disagree. At his news conference yesterday, Conte extolled the virtues of the historically elite form Pep Guardiola’s side have been playing at this season.
For City, a quadreble is no longer possible, but a treble is very much in play. For Chelsea, they need to step it up in order to make sure they can secure a critical top four slot. If not, Conte’s job could seriously be in peril, although it’s been said that if the Blues should survive Barcelona and advance to the Champions League quarterfinals, his job should be secure for the time being.
That said, let’s look at the fitness and availability situations for both sides, starting with Chelsea. Ross Barkley is a doubt due to match fitness. Ethan Ampadu, Tiemoue Bakayoko and David Luiz are all out injured, with a return slated for the middle of this month.
On the flip side, stellar forward Raheem Sterling is a doubt due to match fit concerns; ditto for defender Kyle Walker.
Benjamin Mendy is out until April with a knee injury. Fernandinho has a hamstring issue that will keep him out for an unknown period of time. Fabian Delph will be serving the last game of his three match ban in this one.
Odds: Chelsea 9/2, Draw 10/3, City 8/13
Chelsea starting XI prediction: go to this link
Antonio Conte press conference quotes: go to this link
Prediction: City 2, Chelsea 0
Feel free to post your own Chelsea and/or Man City starting XI predictions, as well as your best guess as to what the final score will be.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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