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Watch Live: Chelsea vs. Manchester City

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Manchester City’s unbeaten Premier League season heads to Stamford Bridge for match-up with wobbly Chelsea (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Blues have claimed just four of 12 points this season, and will look to find their way forward with in-form Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the bench. Alvaro Morata is not in the 18.

Sergio Aguero is rested again for Man City, and Vincent Kompany starts the match on the bench.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Willian, Pedro, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Emerson, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Giroud.

Manchester City:  Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Delph, Fernandinho, D. Silva, Mahrez, Sane, Bernardo, Sterling. Subs: Muric, Danilo, Kompany, Gundogan, Otamendi, Jesus, Foden.

Matchweek 16 Premier League odds: Man City favored at Chelsea

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The form points to Manchester City in a matchup against a rival it has shut out thrice in succession.

Manchester City is the -105 away favorite on this week’s Premier League odds with Chelsea coming back at +300, while the draw is +270 on the three-way moneyline and there is a 3.0-goals total for Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Something will have to give; Chelsea is undefeated in its last 11 home matches in the league, but Manchester City has won 11 of its last 13 away matches and has kept a clean sheet against Chelsea in their last three matchups in all competitions.

The hectic pre-Christmas schedule will make for some heavily rotated starting elevens, with Chelsea not expected to have Ross Barkley (ankle) while Manchester City could be minus stalwarts Kevin De Bruyne (knee) and Vincent Kompany (fatigue). That could lead to an even contest with offense at each end, and Man City win/yes (+200) offers good value in the both-teams-to-score props.

Gabriel Jesus (+400 first scorer, +125 anytime) might feature at forward for Manchester City.

Elsewhere, Bournemouth (+450) has defeated Liverpool (-165, draw +355) only once in 13 tries and while there is a 3.0-goals total, the host Cherries have had their last six matches go OVER 2.5 goals. Liverpool should be on the attack as it strives to stay in contact with first-place Manchester City, and this could be an excellent chance to take Mo Salah (+350 first scorer, -110 anytime), although Roberto Firmino (+550, +170) offers a better payout and has a stronger recent history against Bournemouth.

Manchester United (-280) has not lost at home against Fulham (+850, draw +425) since 2003, but anything seems possible for the Jose Mourinho-led Reds. Eight of Manchester United’s last nine league games have been OVER 2.5 goals and Fulham has lost its last six away games, so there is betting value in a straight both-teams-to-score prop (-125) and Manchester United Win/Yes (+175).

Leicester City (+290) and Tottenham Hotspur (even, draw +255) have gone OVER 2.5 goals in their last three matchups (all competitions), and the visiting Spurs with James Maddison (+800 first scorer, +250 anytime) emerging as a complement to Harry Kane (+280, -120 respectively) are one of the most potent offensive teams in the league. Both-teams-to-score bettors should give some thought to “yes” options that are tied to a Spurs win.

Newcastle (+195) hosts Wolverhampton (+165, draw +210) in a Sunday matchup, with the Wolves having had an eight-day break to prepare. Newcastle has lost six of its home games in the league and Wolverhampton has scored in five of seven away games. The Yes/Over 2.5 (+175) prop might be the best percentage play in a match between inconsistent sides.

And Everton (-130) takes on Watford (+400, draw +285) in a Monday matchup, with Everton manager Marco Silva game-planning for a team that he helmed not so long ago. The Toffees have gone UNDER 2.5 goals in their last four matchups, but an extra prep day might lead to slightly more offensive fireworks.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Man City deals with tight finish: ‘They pushed but we handled it very well’

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Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster kept Manchester City at bay long enough for Watford to give the Premier League leaders a late scare at Vicarage Road.

Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez gave City a 2-0 lead despite a series of blockbuster saves from Foster, and Abdoulaye Doucoure bundled a late chance over the line.

[ RECAP: Watford 1-2 Man City ]

That triggered a late Watford flurry in the 2-1 win, but City again proved it has the calm to close out a game when its unable to finish its chances.

“It’s a good old Premier League match,” said Vincent Kompany on NBCSN. “We knew that as soon as we scored, the long balls were going to start coming. Credit to us for staying strong and winning some challenges at the end. … We had a few 1v1 chances and when it doesn’t become 3- or 4-nil anything can happen. The last 10 minutes were a battle but you can’t win every game with fiery football.”

Mahrez, who also assisted Sane’s goal, agreed.

“They pushed but I think we handled the situation very well, to go back with the three points,” Mahrez said. “We knew when we scored the first goal, it opened space. We had a few chances to kill the game but didn’t. So when they scored the goal with the fans and everything, it got a little bit difficult.”

Guardiola had fine words for the opposing goalie and his dynamite left winger.

“Leroy Sane is scoring goals, he is back,” Guardiola said. “It is always difficult at Stamford Bridge, we must recover our legs and our mind. … We had a good performance, we were aggressive and regained the balls. Ben Foster made some incredible saves.”

Watford manager Javi Gracia‘s comments confirm that the managers are in agreement on the matter.

“Ben Foster was great, it is no surprise to me. When I came to London I thought Big Ben was in the city but no, he is in Watford for us.”

Could Dani Alves finish career in Premier League?

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Dani Alves, who has played in La Liga, Serie A and now Ligue 1, could finish his career in the Premier League.

That’s according to the Paris Saint-Germain right back, who said in an interview he would like to retire in England. The 35-year-old holds the most trophies of any active player, 38, including league titles in Spain, Italy and France, the UEFA Champions League and a Copa America with Brazil.

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“The idea that I might finish my career without going to the Premier League, it is not possible,” Alves told the Telegraph. “For sure, this is the most amazing football in the world. First, because of the respect for the players from the fans, and then because of the passion on the pitch. If I can play, that would be perfect, but I will make it there one way or the other.”

Of course, the first place most people would presume Alves would land in England is Manchester City, where he’d reunite with former manager Pep Guardiola. But Guardiola has slowly been pushing out some of his older players and with the exception of Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho, it’s a fairly young squad. So it’s unclear whether Guardiola would be prepared to bring Alves in at 36 or older next summer.

In addition, Alves may struggle in the Premier League. Unless he plays on a team like Man City, that will hold 70 percent possession each game, he may be forced to actually defend, a skill he’s not the best at compared to his incredible attacking ability. He’s a right back in name only, starting from deep and providing overlapping runs and terrific crosses into forwards.

But if he gets to play higher up the field, perhaps as a right attacking midfielder, even at his age, he could be an exciting addition for just about any team looking to spice up their attack. It’s just a matter of whether a team will take a chance on him, overlooking the age factor.

KDB hurt, Diaz scores two as Man City cruises past Fulham

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Pep Guardiola‘s depth was plenty as reigning champions Manchester City moved on to the League Cup quarterfinals with a 2-0 defeat of Fulham at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

Both goals came from Brahim Diaz, the 19-year-old bagging his first two senior goals in his 14th appearance for City.

[ MORE: League Cup quarterfinal draw ]

Kevin De Bruyne left the match just before the end with what seemed to be a leg injury. De Bruyne missed two months earlier this season with a knee ailment.

Diaz was in the right spot for both goals, first turning a Vincent Kompany rebound past Sergio Rico in the first half before slamming the ball upper 90 after Rico saved a Gabriel Jesus shot off the goal post.

The clean sheet was the second in as many starts for 19-year-old Arijanet Muric, who was part of an XI with lesser used City players Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, and Danilo.

Claudio Gomes, 18, entered the game late to make his City debut.

City will head to either Leicester City or Southampton in the quarterfinal.