TOM LOVE (@TomLove_18) has perused the markets ahead of Super Sunday's mouthwatering showdown between Manchester City and Chelsea to share his best bets.
Manchester City v Chelsea | Sunday 10th February 2019, 16:00 | Sky Sports
Super Sunday concludes with a meeting of two of the nation’s elite. Manchester City regained top spot after a 2-0 win at Goodison Park midweek and will be looking to hold onto that this weekend.
Pep Guardiola will be hoping to get revenge for the 2-0 loss in the reverse fixture in December and his side are rated as 8/15 favourites to do so.
City managed to get through a stubborn 4-4-1-1 system by Everton on Wednesday which does show their adaptability when coming up against different formations. They do the majority of their good work at their Etihad base, winning 12 and losing just once in that freak game against Crystal Palace. You’d be a brave person to back against the Citizens here.
The Blue Moon are also impressing on the underlying performance data. They boast a handsome 2.45 Expected Goals for figure and are managing to avoid conceding too many clear cut chances with their xG against figure at a highly respectable 0.76.
Pep focuses on creating high-quality chances, therefore it’s no surprise to see them cementing themselves as the data darlings. Their interplay in the final third is sometimes unstoppable. Ingenuity, sharpness and control in abundance means they venture into golden assist zones with impressive regularity.
When teams sit back and invite City on, their players as a collective are almost telepathic in knowing when to suddenly change the pace of play to cut through packed defensive units. Watch out for one-two’s in the box and a low cross to the back post for a tap in, it’s almost becoming their trademark.
Blues’ away day woes
Chelsea, on the other hand, are starting to falter when they’re on the road. Three wins out of their last nine games on their travels in all competitions is hardly inspiring, especially when you see that those wins came against Crystal Palace, Watford and Brighton and all came by a single goal.
The Blues have plenty of tricky away games to tackle in the remainder of the season including matches at Anfield and Old Trafford, as well as this one. Their last three away games have all seen defeats ‘to nil’ including an embarrassing 4-0 drubbing at Bournemouth.
Gonzalo Higuain did open his account in last week’s 5-0 thumping of Huddersfield, which will hopefully boost them. His partnership with Eden Hazard is still in its infancy, but it’s one that showed promise, albeit against the lowly Terriers.
It’s become commonplace for Blues’ opposition to direct an individual to carry out a man marking job on holding midfielder Jorginho, it’s a practise that has been used to great effect by most. Here I’d expect a high, intense press from City with focus on cutting off the supply to Chelsea’s key dictator and forcing them to go long.
This could however play into the visitors’ hands if they’re clever in the way they go about it. Should they get past that initial press they have the likes of Hazard and Willian who can be devastating on the break and it wouldn’t surprise me to see some three-on-three scenarios considering how high the City full backs get up the pitch.
Angles of attack
City have to be backed here in my eyes, given their splendid home form and Chelsea’s recent struggles away from Stamford Bridge. We can boost the home win from 8/15 to a more appetising 4/5 when we chuck in Over 1 Goal with Bet365’s BetBuilder and that looks a smart play. All but one of City’s wins this term have seen more than a single goal, including all of their home league games.
I’m also keen to explore the Corner markets and get with the hosts on a -3 handicap which we can back at 5/4 with BetVictor. We backed City corners in this reverse fixture and it was one of the easiest wins of the season with Pep’s charges running out 13-1 winners in the corner stakes.
City average 7.5 corners per-game and give up an average of 2.46 per-game, therefore this bet lands quite often. City’s style of play at trying to get to the byline and fire in low crosses means they rack up the corners too. It’s also not in the hosts’ nature to stop attacking once they go 1-0 up, they keep pressing and that’s great news for backers in this market.
Neutrals will be delighted to see that Mike Dean has the whistle for this big clash. The next red card Dean dishes out will be his 100th, some record! The entertaining official loves to get his cards out, he’s comfortable the most card-happy ref in the Premier League, averaging a mammoth 60 Booking Points per-game in 2018/19. Should this game play out as I expect I think there’s a player that looks value to pick up a booking.
Bernardo Silva performed with effusive energy in a relatively recent meeting with Liverpool, his non-stop harrying set the tone and I feel he will be trying to recreate a similar performance here; it also could be him charged with getting on top off Jorginho.
Silva was booked in that game against Liverpool and was also cautioned in two other games against the Big Six. He clearly loves the big occasions and this is certainly one of those. The Portuguese maestro is available at 11/2 (Betfair) to pick up a card here, it’s a decent price considering he is as short as 7/2 elsewhere.
My final play is a bigger price and that’s for Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard both to score at 7/1 with William Hill. It looks a nice quote for two players who scored at least two in their sides’ last games respectively. Both are in the top five for the leagues’ top scorers and both are likely to be on penalty duty which is an added bonus.
Manchester City v Chelsea – Manchester City to win and Over 1 Goal (4/5 Bet365)
Manchester City v Chelsea – Manchester City -3 corner handicap (5/4 BetVictor)
Manchester City v Chelsea – Bernardo Silva to be carded (11/2 Betfair)
Manchester City v Chelsea – Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard both to score (7/1 William Hill)