Manchester City vs Chelsea
There’s a play-off for top spot in the Premier League this weekend as third-placed Manchester City welcome leaders Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Sky Blues boast bragging rights against the Londoners in recent meetings, having done the double over Chelsea in the Premier League last season, but this weekend’s clash could see a reverse in fortunes given the form of Antonio Conte’s side of late. Both sides are in decent form ahead of Saturday’s clash, but with Manchester City less than convincing on home soil, a travel-happy Chelsea might fancy their chances of making a big statement of intent in the title-race. The winner of Saturday lunchtime’s match will be top of the Premier League table, and City have turned their form around at the perfect time to threaten a win over Chelsea. As it so Happens, the experts at SBAT believe the game will finish as a bore draw: 1 all. The home side are currently third in the Premier League with 30 points from a possible 39 this season, having won three and drawn one of their last four ahead of Saturday’s welcome of Chelsea. City are yet to lose on home soil in the league but have struggled for wins at the Etihad Stadium in recent weeks which may give hope for Chelsea to end the Sky Blues’ unbeaten run. Goals have dried up of late by City’s standards too, scoring one or fewer goals in four of their last seven league games, and a Chelsea side boasting the joint-best defensive record might have some joy as a result. As for the visitors, the Londoners are sitting pretty at the summit with 31 points from 13 games, having won seven on the bounce ahead of their trip to the Etihad Stadium. Chelsea have beaten the likes of defending champions Leicester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur during their winning streak in the Premier League, and could extend their lead at the top if they can see past Manchester City. Antonio Conte’s men boast three consecutive away wins in the league, and have picked up six clean sheets from seven to convince many of their title credentials. The two sides’ contrasting styles could be a factor too. Under Pep Guardiola, Manchester City are expected to control possession and play a high defensive line to put pressure on Chelsea in the visitors’ half, but that could play into Chelsea’s hands. The away side have enjoyed success deploying a counter-attacking style, turning defence into attack with pace, and an expansive Manchester City might be stung on the break if they commit too many players forward when in possession. Chelsea have been a tough side to break down too so City will have a difficult task in breaching their backline, let alone worry about the Blues’ firepower. Manchester City’s meeting with Chelsea could see goals at both ends with so much at stake for the two clubs. There’s just one point separating Guardiola’s and Conte’s men in the Premier League table, and City have scored and conceded in five of their last six, so Chelsea are sure to be made to work for a result this weekend. With Man City having failed to win a home game since September, Chelsea have a chance to go four points clear at the summit.