Chelsea vs Manchester City
Chelsea host Manchester City for this English Premier League round 19 clash at Stamford Bridge in London early Friday morning Beijing time. However, in reality both teams have played just 16 games so far in the best league on the planet. The football fans all over the world have every reason to expect an entertaining battle between the reigning Premier League champions and the UEFA Champions League winners from 2021. I also see a lucrative betting opportunity here. Unfortunately for Chelsea their level has hugely dropped since lifting the Champions League trophy. Even last season was a slightly disappointing one for them. This season, however, has been close to a catastrophe! They currently occupy the 10th place with just just 25 to their account. Moreover, in terms of expected points (xPTS) they would have deserved just 18.97 points. They have netted the ball just 20 times and the offensive problems have further deepened from last season. They still do not have a world-class striker. As a whole their offense has lacked speed, passing accuracy near the opponents goals and creativity. Their defense has, however, been quite okay and they have conceded 18 goals. However, their number of expected goals allowed (xGA) is 24.32. Their quite new manager is an overrated guy in my opinion and is no match to the best manager in the world in my view, Pep Guardiola. Chelsea surely do have some potential for improvement but at the moment things look grim for them and the opponent should be too strong even if Chelsea were to play well. In their most recent match the hosts were extremely disappointing against Nottingham, the worst team in this league by pure class in my opinion. It was a 1-1 draw away from home and Chelsea only recorded a little more in expected goal (xG). Nottingham's xG was 1.12 – Chelsea created 1.38 despite being very clear favorites to win – priced around 1.65 to win on the betting market. Before this they did beat Bournemouth, a pretty lowly team, 2-0 at home but were not overly convincing. They have now lost four, taken one win and a draw in their most recent games.
Manchester City had to settle for a disappointing and surprising 1-1 draw last Saturday at home but would have deserved all three points! They totally dominated the match recording 2.53 in xG. Everton's number was just 0.07. Manchester City are one of the best teams on the planet and it is very clear for everyone who follows football that the visitors are clear favorites today.. The betting market has clearly over-reacted to the draw against Everton. City must be very irritated here and need to win as Arsenal keep performing well and have an eight-point-lead in the standings with one more match played than City who have 36 points in the bank. City will have to fight hard to win the league - again. The biggest, usually quite sharp bookmakers that accept the biggest bets offer odds of around 1.70-1.75 for City to win.. I would say that they have a 63% chance to travel home with all three points. I still want to mention that they have scored close to eight more goals than the xG would suggest and been a little lucky in terms of xPTS.. Even so, I rate them as the best team in this league but have still slightly lowered their power rating that reflects the teams' pure class from my in-depth preseason analysis. The main rationale behind the pick is to go against Chelsea. On the 28th of December against Leeds away from home Man City took a fully deserved 3-1 win. They recorded 3.98 in expected goals – Leeds’s number was 0.78. Leeds played below their normal – not so great – level though. Today City, of course, have a clear edge in all areas of the game and have a better situation in terms of players available. Chelsea will be missing Broja, Fofana and James due to a knee injury. Important Kante has a hamstring injury. Chillwell, Loftus-Cheek and Mendy are questionable. City will be without Dias and Mendy – Alvarez's and Laporte's situation is unclear at the time of writing this Thursday evening Beijing time.