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Expect a carbon copy of Premier League in City Chelsea Cup contest

Believe it or not, 11/10 Premier League title favourites Manchester City have failed to score in February. Manuel Pellegrini’s team, so rampant before Chelsea came to the Etihad in their last home game and won, are expecting a similar and closely-fought contest when these heavyweights lock horns in the FA Cup.

One thing this huge fifth round tie should not be is a draw. That has happened once in the last 20 meetings of City and the Blues, but neither needs a replay because of Champions League commitments which are resumed shortly. If compelled, punters can get 5/2 on a draw.

In spite of that victory at the Eithad 10 days ago, Jose Mourinho’s men are less fancied than City (6/5) at 23/10 to win this cup clash. The Blues also remain 6/4 behind their hosts in the Premier League title betting.

Pellegrini anticipates their rematch will closely resemble the recent encounter on February 3rd. “I think it’ll be a very similar game as we have a style of play that we don’t change no matter who we’re against,” he said.

“We know the important players that Chelsea have, the way they play. We know also that we have to try not to be very open on the counter-attack.”

Conventional wisdom concurs. City’s top-scorer Sergio Aguero remains on the sidelines.

He scored the last time they beat the Blues. Chelsea, meanwhile, could field Fernando Torres from the start for the first time since returning from a knee injury.

Spain’s centurion striker Torres boasts the impressive stat of always beating City when he scores. Back him at 2/1 to find the net at anytime here.

Coral are also offering some special markets on this tie. Rivals Mourinho and Pellegrini are 4/1 to not shake hands at full-time. A red card being brandished is a 9/4 shot, while the awarding of a penalty is 5/2.

If this tie turns out to be a carbon copy of the Premier League match, then the odds are attractive. Chelsea to win 1-0 is 12/1 and a Blues victory to nil is safer at 13/2. Mourinho’s men have kept four clean sheets in their last five outings, so are great value at 4/1 for another here.

Branislav Ivanovic’s first-half strike settled the last encounter, so back the Serb to pop up from defence and score anytime at 8/1. The half-time/full-time market with Chelsea winning both is 11/2.

Total goals being under 1.5 is a 10/3 shot. City, who have not scored in either of their last two matches, are 15/4 to misfire for a third match running.