The Premier League title challenge may be a one-horse race at the moment, but on Saturday that could all change.
Man City (1st, 53 points) hosts Chelsea (2nd, 43 points) at the Etihad in a match that could either virtually seal the title for the Citizens in mid-January or reignite a true title challenge by the Blues. The potential six-point swing means either Man City could go a seemingly insurmountable 13 points clear at the top, or Chelsea could pull within seven and make things interesting.
Chelsea is fresh off its resounding Carabao Cup semifinal victory over Tottenham, emphatically topping Spurs over two legs and serving a statement to the rest of England that Chelsea remains a force to be reckoned with.
Taking on Man City is another task entirely, however, as the title favorites have looked nearly unplayable at times this season, with a machine-like quality to the squad.
How to watch Man City vs. Chelsea
- Date: Saturday, Jan. 15
- Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
- TV Channel: —
- Streaming: Peacock (subscribers only)
Saturday's match between Man City and Chelsea from the Etihad will be broadcast exclusively on NBC's premium streaming platform Peacock in the USA.
Man City vs. Chelsea projected lineups
A COVID-19 outbreak among the Man City squad left a total of seven first-team players — and manager Pep Guardiola — in isolation, and while the manager is back in action, it's unclear how many of the players will return. Guardiola also confirmed in his pre-match press conference that there are new positives among the squad, but he did not reveal which players are newly affected.
Along with that unknown, City is missing Riyad Mahrez who remains on AFCON 2022 duty, but John Stones is thought to be available for selection after returning from a knock. Zack Steffen is expected to return to the bench after his deployment in goal for the FA Cup match last time out, unless Ederson is one of those affected by COVID-19.
Man City projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Ederson (GK) — Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo — Gundogan, Rodri, B. Silva — De Bruyne, Jesus, Foden.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has no fresh injury concerns to navigate, but the squad is still beset by long-term problems to the likes of Ben Chilwell and Reece James, while Trevoh Chalobah remains out with his hamstring strain.
The goalkeeper job is still Kepa Arrizabalaga's with Edouard Mendy on AFCON 2022 duty. Andreas Christensen is another absence (COVID-19), but otherwise the squad is fit. It will be interesting to see whether Tuchel returns to his usual 3-4-3 system, or if he continues with the 4-3-3 deployed in midweek against Tottenham. If it's the 3-4-3 and Cesar Azpilicueta is required to play as part of the three center backs, then Christian Pulisic could reprise his role as right wingback.
Chelsea projected starting lineup (3-4-2-1): Kepa (GK) — Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger — Pulisic, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso — Mount, Havertz — Lukaku.
Man City vs. Chelsea betting odds & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
Obviously, Man City — the best team in the Premier League by a decent margin — should be favored in this match. But by this much? It's hard to look past the insane odds assigned to European champion Chelsea. And even if you're not interested in picking the Blues straight up, you can hedge a little while still finding plus odds.
Man City is a spectacular side, but still not without flaws, and this Chelsea team is in very good form and it had Man City's number last season. Few would argue with backing the Blues here with either a double chance hedge (+120) or an under (+100) or both!
- Moneyline: Man City -145 / Draw +290 / Chelsea +400
- Spread: Man City -0.5 (-140) / Chelsea +0.5 (+120)
- O/U 2.5 total goals: Over -125 / Under +100
- Both teams to score: Yes -140 / No +105