Pep Guardiola’s relentless side have retained their Premier League crown after Arsenal’s loss at Nottingham Forest. Here’s our Manchester City vs Chelsea prediction and preview.
Manchester City vs Chelsea: Quick Stats
- Man City are made heavy favourites to win on Sunday, with the Opta supercomputer giving them a 62.5% chance of victory.
- Chelsea have won just one of their last 11 games in all competitions (D3 L7).
- Riyad Mahrez has scored four goals in City’s three games against Chelsea this season, opening the scoring on each occasion.
Manchester City clinched their fifth Premier League title in six years on Saturday without even playing, taking their first step on the way to a possible treble.
Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest confirmed Pep Guardiola’s men as champions, and so they come into their clash with Chelsea on Sunday in the mood to celebrate.
After their dismantling of Real Madrid on Wednesday, Chelsea should not strike much fear into Man City, who have won their last three Premier League games against the Blues, all by a 1-0 scoreline. They have never won four in a row against them in their league history.
They have in all competitions though, and really seem to have Chelsea’s number. That number appears to be zero, as since Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea beat them 1-0 in the 2021 UEFA Champions League final, Man City have won the subsequent five meetings in all competitions without conceding a single goal. The last team Chelsea have lost against consecutively more often was Blackburn Rovers (seven times between 1993 and 1996), while they have never lost six in a row against a team without scoring.
Guardiola’s side have had a whale of a time against Chelsea this season in particular, beating them 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium in the Carabao Cup, before a 1-0 league success at Stamford Bridge was closely followed by a 4-0 thrashing back at the Etihad in the FA Cup. The only side to beat the Blues four times in a single campaign before are Manchester United in 2010-11.
It would be intimidating enough for Chelsea that they are playing the champions-elect, but frankly anyone above them in the table provides them with a stern test. Since the start of last season, the Blues haven’t won any of their 14 Premier League games against sides starting the day above them (D4 L10), losing their last three.
Riyad Mahrez has scored four goals in Man City’s three games against Chelsea this season and opened the scoring in each match. The last City player to score in four games against an opponent in a single season was Dennis Tueart against Norwich City in 1975-76.
Chelsea interim boss Frank Lampard is one of only two managers to avoid defeat away at City in the Premier League this season, drawing 1-1 at the Etihad with Everton in December. The last person to manage away at City twice in a single league campaign and avoid defeat in both was Gordon Lee in 1976-77, earning draws with both Newcastle United and Everton.
Nathan Ake remains a doubt for the hosts with a hamstring issue, while Chelsea still have a number of players missing including Mason Mount (pelvis), Reece James and Ben Chilwell (both hamstring). Lampard also confirmed on Friday that N’Golo Kanté (groin), Marc Cucurella (quad) and Kalidou Koulibaly (hamstring) will not be fit in time, and that Benoît Badiashile is also out with a groin problem.
Manchester City 4-0 Chelsea: 8 January 2023 (FA Cup third round)
As if Chelsea weren’t sick of the sight of Man City already, they had to face them in the FA Cup third round after losing to them 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League just three days prior.
City made several changes and handed starts to Stefan Ortega, Sergio Gómez and Cole Palmer, while Julián Álvarez stepped in to replace Erling Haaland up front. Chelsea also gave opportunities to youngsters Lewis Hall and Bashir Humphreys, but it was perhaps not the experience they would have wanted.
Mahrez opened the scoring with a fabulous free-kick, before Álvarez made it 2-0 from the penalty spot and Phil Foden added a third before half-time as he tapped in from Kyle Walker’s low cross. Foden became the only player to have scored in each of the last five FA Cup campaigns.
Mahrez added another from the spot late on to seal an emphatic victory as City racked up 2.8 expected goals from just nine shots.
Put simply, Man City’s form has been relentless, as it so often is at this time of year. Unbeaten in 23 games in all competitions (W19 D4) and confirmed as Premier League champions, they also have an FA Cup final and Champions League final to look forward to.
Since their last defeat in February against Tottenham Hotspur, City have trailed for just 10 minutes and 56 seconds in the Premier League, doing so in their 4-1 home win over Liverpool in April. They have been behind for just 228 minutes in total in the Premier League this season, the fewest of any team.
Chelsea, on the other hand, just want the season to end. Their recent 3-1 win at Bournemouth ended a run of six defeats on the bounce and looked like it could be a turning point, only for a 2-2 draw at home to Nottingham Forest last week to suggest there is still a lot more work to be done.
Frank Lampard’s men have won just one of their last 11 games in all competitions (D3 L7) and will have their work cut out to find the seven points they need to avoid recording their lowest points total in the Premier League era (50). This trip to City is followed by another to Manchester United on Thursday, before hosting Newcastle on the final day of the season.
Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne
While Erling Haaland is rightly getting many plaudits, watching both of Man City’s Champions League semi-final games against Real Madrid just left you in awe of Kevin De Bruyne.
The Belgian’s equalising goal in the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg was stunning, but then his assist for Bernardo Silva to open the scoring at the Etihad Stadium in the return game was something else.
De Bruyne also has a penchant for punishing Chelsea. He has only scored more Premier League goals against Arsenal (eight) than he has against his former side (five), with those five goals being the most any player has scored against the Blues having previously played for them in the competition.
Chelsea: Thiago Silva
You would think Chelsea will be doing rather a lot of defending on Sunday, and so their main man at the back will have to be at his best.
That Thiago Silva is playing in a team that is struggling to finish in the top half of the Premier League seems crazy. He is still a supreme defender at the age of 38, and it’s anyone’s guess where Chelsea would be without his presence.
Among those players to have contested 25+ duels this season, the former Milan and Paris Saint-Germain star leads the league for percentage of duels won (72.8% of his 151 duels).
Manchester City vs Chelsea Prediction
While Chelsea have struggled badly this season and Man City have continued to thrive, it will still be troubling for Blues fans to see just how lopsided Opta’s supercomputer sees this one.
City are given a 62.5% chance of winning, the amount you’d usually see when a top side plays one near the bottom. They have won their final home league game in eight of the last nine seasons, with the exception being a 2-2 draw with Arsenal in 2015-16 and have not lost since doing so against Norwich in 2012-13.
Chelsea are handed just a 14.6% chance of victory, while the draw comes in at 22.9%.