Former City player and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard will be reasonably pleased by the job he has done in his first year in charge at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues on course for a top four finish with some exciting young players gaining regular game time across the season.
Although job security is never particularly high when Roman Abramovich is your boss, Lampard should be given time to evolve this Chelsea team back into a force to be reckoned with once again, as they were under many of the managers the former midfielder played under.
The signing of Timo Werner has excited fans, providing something a bit extra at the top of the pitch to try and close out those tight games t the Bridge which the team have struggled with this season. Werner of course will not arrive until next season however, as may one or two other star names, so the task in hand now is for the young coach to keep his team focused on the commencement of the season.
Last weekend’s win at Aston Villa was far from convincing with it taking a long time for the players to get into the grove after such a long time away from competitive action.
Eventually they got the job done and took three points back to West London but a much better performance will be needed if they are to overcome the might of Manchester City.
City have strolled past both Arsenal and Burnley since the restart without conceding, 3-0 and 5-0 respectively. You can’t take too much from those games given how bad the opposition were on both occasions but it already looks as if City are determined to end the season on a winning run, even if the title will slip away in the next couple of weeks.
Although Sergio Aguero will be missing for the remainder of the season after picking up a knee injury, Gabriel Jesus knows where the net is and in fact has better shots per game stats than his South American counterpart.
With Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, David Silva, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling all finding the net within the last week, it’s fair to say City should still have enough firepower to finish the campaign strongly in front of goal.
I’m backing Pep’s men to win here with no home advantage for Chelsea, with at least a couple of goals to boot.
Since the season started in August, 18 of the 20 league wins Guardiola’s side have recorded have seen over 1 goal and their games are unsurprinsgly coming out on top for their average goals this season at 3.57 per match. It’s worth adding that City sit first on the Expected Goals front too which is to be expected considering the attacking talent at their disposal.
Chelsea games meanwhile average 3.1 goals, the third highest in the Premier League, and it’s rarely been dull under Lampard with the attacking approach he adopts.
On the cards front, Stuart Attwell takes the whistle here and is a particularly card happy referee – sitting just behind Mike Dean with 4.51 cards dished out per fixture.
With Chelsea having earned at least one card in 26 of their 30 league matches and City going one better, picking up one booking or more in 27/30, I’m happy to include each team to be noted in the referee’s book again here.
Those that backed City to win every remaining game prior to the restart could well be cashing in come the end of the season, even if it means they still fall well short of a consecutive title crowning.
Bet365 – Man City to win; Over 1 Goal in the Match; Chelsea Over 0 Cards and Man City Over 0 Cards – 7/4