Manchester City went top of the the Premier League table for the first time this season on Wednesday after another formidable display saw them thrash Spurs 5-1 at White Hart Lane. City have won seven on the spin and scored an incredible 29 goals in the process, they are now 20 games unbeaten in all competitons and have taken 34 points from the past 36 available in the league.
Edin Dzeko struck his seventh goal in six games in the rout of Tottenham, while Sergio Aguero’s opener gave him his tenth in his past eight although the Argentine hobbled off before half-time.
A disappointing scoreless draw on Tuesday at home to strugglers West Ham brought an end to Chelsea’s run of seven wins in a row but they remain just three points adrift of City at the summit in spite of that result. They did, however, earn a seventh clean sheet in nine in that game and Jose Mourinho’s men have conceded just twice in those games. However, of the top eight sides only Liverpool have picked up less points on their travels than the Blues.
Aguero’s absence was confirmed by City boss Manuel Pellegrini, with the Chilean expecting his star striker to be out for about a month with the hamstring injury that saw him replaced before half-time in midweek. Javi Garcia and Samir Nasri are also out for the home side but James Milner could return from a groin problem.
Fernando Torres and Marco van Ginkel are both out for Chelsea, but Mohamed Salah may make his debut following the Egyptian winger’s transfer from Basel last week after being left out of the squad by Mourinho for the midweek draw.
Head to Head
A last-gasp winner from Torres, thanks to an absolute howler from City goalkeeper Joe Hart, gave Chelsea a 2-1 win when the teams met at Stamford Bridge at the end of October last year. Andre Schurrle had given the home side a first half lead before Aguero equalised just after half-time.
That was only the third win for Chelsea in the past eleven meetings while the Citizens came out victorious in seven of those games and the Blues haven’t came out on top at the Etihad since a 3-1 win there in 2008.
It’s ironic, or hypocritical, that Mourinho’s protestations regarding West Ham’s tactics which earned the Hammers a point in midweek should mirror his own in away games with Manchester United and Arsenal already this season. It looks likely that the Chelsea boss will line his team out similarly against the Premier League’s most potent attack but City are a different prospect altogether, although Aguero is a significant loss, but a home win still looks the best bet in the Match Betting market at 20/23.
Yaya Toure is bettered by only Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Aguero in the Premier League’s goalscorers charts so with the addition of penalty duties in the Argentine’s absence is well priced at 12/5 to score anytime in this game, while Eden Hazard is the pick of the likely scorers for Chelsea with his pace likely to give plenty of problems to the hosts.