Champions Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge in the headline fixture of Matchday 12 in the Premier League. We look ahead to Sunday’s game with our Chelsea vs Manchester City prediction and preview.
Chelsea vs Manchester City: Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer predicts Manchester City have a 50.1% chance of victory in Sunday’s late kick-off, with Chelsea’s hopes rated at 22.5%.
- Chelsea have lost their last six games against Man City without scoring, their longest ever losing streak against one team without finding the net.
- Jérémy Doku registered four assists in City’s 6-1 thrashing of Bournemouth last week, taking him to five assists in eight Premier League outings. Only Kyle Walker-Peters, Elano and Faustino Asprilla reached five assists in fewer appearances.
Chelsea and Manchester City were the two clear winners to emerge from a topsy-turvy Matchday 11 in the Premier League, with the Blues ending Tottenham’s unbeaten start to the season in remarkable fashion while the champions saw several rivals slip up. On Sunday, the two giants come face-to-face in a headline fixture at Stamford Bridge.
After a chaotic game featuring five goals, five disallowed efforts and two red cards, Mauricio Pochettino had the last laugh over his former employers on Monday as Chelsea left the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as 4-1 victors.
Chelsea initially struggled to take advantage of the dismissals of Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie, as nine-man Spurs employed a bizarre high line. However, Nicolas Jackson’s late hat-trick – his first in one of Europe’s top five leagues – ensured the Blues took the spoils after Cole Palmer’s penalty cancelled out Dejan Kulusevski’s opener.
Jackson’s treble took him to five Premier League goals, though those strikes have come from 7.11 expected goals (xG), a higher total than all but Erling Haaland (10.63) and Mohamed Salah (8.03) in the Premier League this season. Only Darwin Núñez (0.85) averages more xG per 90 minutes than Jackson (0.84), who has converted 38.5% of his big chances in the competition.
Pochettino will hope Jackson and others took confidence from Monday’s win as he attempts to mastermind an upset of the champions. The Argentine claimed his maiden victory as a Premier League manager against City, overseeing Southampton’s 3-1 win over them in February 2013. However, after winning four of his first eight league meetings with City (D1 L3), he is winless in his last six (D2 L4).
Pochettino has seen Chelsea’s injury crisis begin to ease, with the likes of Reece James and Mykhailo Mudryk returning to action. Armando Broja could be involved on Sunday after recovering from a knee issue, but Christopher Nkunku is not expected to be available until after the international break. Chelsea are in the middle of a tough run of fixtures; after playing City, they face Newcastle, Brighton and Manchester United, so any other returning players will only help their cause.
This fixture is always a notable occasion for Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling, who won four Premier League titles during a successful seven-year spell with City. Sterling assisted Chelsea’s first goal on Monday, taking him to 178 Premier League goal involvements since his March 2012 debut (118 goals, 60 assists). Only Harry Kane (259), Salah (210), Sergio Agüero (209) and Jamie Vardy (180) have more during that time.
Sterling’s former club ended Matchday 11 at the top of the Premier League table after thrashing Bournemouth 6-1, with rivals Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs all dropping points. They carried that form into the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday with a comfortable 3-0 win over Young Boys, with Haaland’s brace and a superb solo goal from Phil Foden sealing qualification for the last 16 with two games to spare.
Winger Jérémy Doku was the star of the show against Bournemouth, scoring the opener before becoming the first City player to assist four goals in a single Premier League match. Doku has five assists in his first eight Premier League outings, with only Kyle Walker-Peters (five games), Elano and Faustino Asprilla (both seven) reaching that figure in fewer appearances.
Last week’s win represented the 12th time City have scored six goals in a Premier League game under Pep Guardiola. Since his 2016 arrival, they have hit six twice as often as their nearest rivals Liverpool, who have done so in six games.
Doku, Bernardo Silva and Julián Álvarez could all return to City’s lineup after starting on the bench on Tuesday. Guardiola has a major issue to ponder in defence, however. The City boss believes John Stones could be out “for a while” after being forced off in midweek, though he hopes Manuel Akanji will be available after suffering a minor injury in Tuesday’s warm-up.
Rodri was also rested against Young Boys as City won without the Spaniard for the first time since April’s FA Cup semi-final victory over Sheffield United. City have lost both of their Premier League matches without Rodri this season, but he will reclaim his place in their midfield on Sunday.
Chelsea vs Manchester City Head-to-Head
Since Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea overcame City in the 2021 Champions League final, the Blues have had no joy against Guardiola’s men.
Chelsea have lost their last six against City in all competitions without scoring. It is their longest-ever losing streak against an opponent without netting, while they have only lost seven successive matches against a team on two previous occasions – against Blackburn Rovers (1993-1996) and Huddersfield Town (1931-1933).
Indeed, City have won those games by an aggregate score of 10-0. Only against Burnley (eight), Fulham and Wigan Athletic (both seven) have they enjoyed longer winning runs without conceding.
The last four Premier League contests between the teams have all resulted in 1-0 wins for City. The most recent came at the Etihad Stadium in May as the newly-crowned champions celebrated in style, with Álvarez’s winner being assisted by now-Chelsea forward Palmer.
Riyad Mahrez scored the only goal when City last visited Stamford Bridge in January, turning in Jack Grealish’s cross to settle a tight affair.
City have won their last three away Premier League games against Chelsea, having only managed three victories in their previous 22 trips to Stamford Bridge in the competition (five draws, 14 losses).
Chelsea have only won one of their six home games in the Premier League this campaign (against Luton Town in August), with Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Brentford all victorious at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have suffered eight Premier League defeats on their own turf in 2023, their most in a single calendar year.
They have only lost more home games in five calendar years across their entire league history, most recently doing so in 1986, when they were beaten 10 times at Stamford Bridge.
Following Monday’s comeback victory, Chelsea have gained seven points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, a tally only bettered by Liverpool (11) and Tottenham (eight).
They may struggle to recover if they go behind on Sunday, however; since losing to Chelsea and Brighton in May 2021, City have only lost one of 68 Premier League games when scoring the first goal (61 wins, six draws), winning all eight such matches this campaign.
City endured a run of three defeats in four away games across all competitions prior to the October international break, but they have since responded with back-to-back road wins over Young Boys (3-1) and Manchester United (3-0).
Chelsea vs Manchester City Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Chelsea vs Manchester City Prediction
The Opta supercomputer is siding with the treble-winners ahead of Sunday’s game, with City winning 50.1% of our 10,000 pre-match simulations.
Chelsea are given a 22.7% chance of inflicting City’s third league defeat of 2023-24, with the likelihood of a draw standing at 27.2%.
In the supercomputer’s season predictions, City are still clear favourites to retain their crown, topping the table in 87.6% of simulations. Chelsea, meanwhile, are at least given a slim chance of European qualification, securing a top-seven finish in 15.4% of scenarios.