Premier League Preview: Manchester City vs. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea winless in 4 PL matches vs City
  • Includes 3-0 loss in this fixture last year
  • Chelsea leads all-time 62W-39D-52L

The Premier League’s December slate kicks off with a massive tilt at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday morning, when Man City hosts Chelsea at 7:30 a.m. EDT (Watch on NBCSN, or on NBCSports.com).

It’s going to be the first Premier League showdown between Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte, and another significant test for the stingy 3-4-3 of Conte’s Chelsea.

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Chelsea enters the game with a 4-1-1 record away from Stamford Bridge, and Man City’s record at the Etihad Stadium is the reason it isn’t atop the Premier League. Winning six of seven on the road, City has just three wins and three draws at home.

A home win would assure City heads back to the Champions League atop the Premier League on points (Chelsea currently leads by a point, and Liverpool is level with City). But a loss could see City four back of Chelsea and as low in the table as fourth.

As for the individual stuff, Chelsea’s Diego Costa is joint-top with Man City’s Sergio Aguero on a Premier League-high 10 goals. Only City’s Kevin De Bruyne (7 assists) has more helpers than Nemanja Matic of Chelsea.

What they’re saying

Man City’s Fernandinho on this critical period“December is a time that can determine whether or not you’re going to be in the title race or not as you can gain or lose ground very quickly so if you can rotate the squad and keep the players as fresh as possible it’s obviously much better. Chelsea are a good side and they have shown that this season, but so are we. Both sides have great players and a great manager and it’s all about who is raises their levels the highest on Saturday and we intend that to be us.”

Eden Hazard on Belgium teammate Kevin De Bruyne of MCFC“He didn’t get his chance here at Chelsea but did very well in Germany and, since he went to City, he’s been on fire. Sometimes you don’t get the chance to play, or the system the manager uses isn’t right for you, but now he’s full of confidence. I hope [on Saturday] he’ll have less confidence.”

Prediction

We could see a long feeling-out period between these master tacticians, and road dogs Chelsea will be very difficult to break down. An early goal could put this projection on its ear, but we peg both to score in a 1-1 draw that opens the door for Liverpool to go top.

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