Blues to bounce back with big win
Frank Monkhouse | 5 April 2017
Chelsea to steady the ship vs City
The midweek schedule springs to life on Wednesday as Chelsea host Man City at Stamford Bridge from 8.00pm, live in front of the watching BT Sport cameras, and a nervous home support.
What a difference a week makes in football. Chelsea were coasting, running down the clock, waiting to pick up a historic league title – until disaster struck on Saturday, going down to Crystal Palace. Their neighbours came to this very venue and had the audacity to leave with three points, opening the race for the title back up.
This is not a must win match for Chelsea, not mathematically anyway, but it’s as close as they’d want to be to one. With Spurs expected to beat Swansea, a maximum pay-out is needed to ensure the Lilywhites don’t eat further into a lead that sat at 10 points this time last week. It’s now seven – it can’t be allowed to slip to four.
Locals can pick out the positives
That defeat to Palace was a shock, but the home side would’ve concentrated on the facts at training on Monday – it’s nothing more than a minor slip on-route to the title, and is one of only four defeats suffered by Chelsea this season, their first since January 4th. The home side also took the lead that day, through Fabregas, and were caught by a quick-fire double. They had chances to get back into the match, and the fact that they didn’t will be the only sore point. As Conte told the press – this is football, it happens.
Chelsea hammered City 3-1 when the pair last met at the Etihad in the reverse of this fixture. Costa, Da Silva and Hazard were all on the scoresheet that day, to overturn an earlier own-goal by Cahill. Their second-half performance was sublime, perhaps the best of their season so far, and a similar showing will be more than enough to see them pick up the win again.
The head-to-head stats come down in support of the locals too, with home fans seeing their side lose just two of their last 19 meetings with The Citizens in the big smoke. Coral traders offer Conte and co at 11/8, while both score and Chelsea win again is 4/1.
The right time to go to the bridge
It’s never a good time to go to Stamford Bridge in need of a win, but Man City couldn’t have planned this any better. They make the journey with their hosts seemingly fragile from that weekend loss, and having failed to win three of their last seven.
City have rarely been seen in better nick either, unbeaten in eight, they have suffered just one defeat in 10, with the spare coming against Everton back in mid-January. Since sinking to The Toffee’s, Pep’s boys beat West Ham, Bournemouth and Sunderland, all without conceding a goal. Another win to nil is one for lovers of an outsider, at 5/1. A big stroke of luck needed there, but it would’ve been a winner when they last visited.
That may be pushing it a little, especially as Coral’s football guys give followers of the away win enough to interest them at 2/1. Aguero helped himself to a hat-trick in this fixture last season, and was on the scoresheet against Arsenal at the weekend. He’s a 9/2 shot to score first, or can be added to anytime score accas at 7/5.