Chelsea’s record against top four means they should topple Man City
Chelsea travel to Manchester City amid a furore over their treatment of the club doctor, which really disguises the fact that they were uncharacteristically poor against Swansea City in their opener.
The Premier League champions got off to a relatively below-par start defending their crown and, in fact, stuttered all pre-season. A trip to the Etihad should, however, get things back on track, with the Blues 14/5 from Coral to beat their Mancunian title rivals (21/20 favourites).
Jose Mourinho is the master of turning the tide of disapproval into team motivation, so will be feeding off the kerfuffle, while the Londoners’ record against top four opponents under the controversial coach remains exemplary.
Take for instance last term, where they suffered not one league defeat to main competitors Arsenal, City and Manchester United. The one blemish on this Blues report card, though, is that four of those six duels ended as draws, including their two tussles with the Sky Blues. So, back the game to end on even terms at 12/5, or 11/2 for a third 1-1 result in a row.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men, by comparison, won just one of their six battles against fellow big-guns last campaign, drawing three and falling to two defeats, while they have also not triumphed in any of their past four league games against Chelsea.
It should be noted, however, that the Sky Blues are usually excellent at the Etihad and also romped to a 3-0 win against West Bromwich Albion in their opener.
On current form they surely appear the stronger side, with recent brace bagger Yaya Toure 10/3 in the anytime market, or 18/1 to score two or more once again.
Spain schemer David Silva was clearly the orchestrator of that Albion demolition job and grabbed a goal in the reverse Chelsea fixture last season, so is 2/1 to be on target anytime, while superstar and potential game-changer Sergio Aguero is 9/2 to net first.
For the Blues, meanwhile, Diego Costa should come out all guns blazing, and is 6/1 to draw first blood, while Brazil set-piece threat Oscar is 10/3 to strike anytime for the second game on the trot, and main man Eden Hazard is an excellent 11/4 in the same market.
Betting tip: Chelsea need a result at the Etihad and are never more dangerous than when backed into a corner, so take odds of 14/5 for victory