Manchester City v Chelsea Cheat Sheet
Manchester City v Chelsea
These teams met at Stamford Bridge just 3 days ago in the Premier League but face off again in the FA Cup at the Etihad. Chelsea are on a poor run, they have won just 1 of their last 8 matches, no team in the Premier League has won less over this time period. Chelsea had won all of their first 3 matches under Graham Potter but their form has only got worse since. Chelsea travel away in this match, they are 4 games without a win away from home although they were unbeaten in their 5 previous away matches. With Chelsea’s disappointing league position, the FA Cup is a good opportunity for a Chelsea trophy and a win would be a huge morale boost for a struggling Chelsea side.
Manchester City continue to chase Arsenal in the league but they face a tough 3rd round match if Pep Guardiola is to win his second FA Cup as manager. With their 1-0 win against Chelsea in the league, Manchester City became only the second side ever to win four consecutive matches against the Blues, the last time this happened was 1960. Pep Guardiola had the tactical edge in the last match with substitutes Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez linking up for the City goal, this will see City fans come in with plenty of optimism for this match.
Even with the constant rotation Pep’s teams go through, Kevin De Bruyne is almost always chosen to start. He had a strong game 3 days ago, he had 4 shots with 2 on target and after the changes were made by Guardiola in the second half he became more and more involved in the match. Guardiola will feel confident deploying a similar tactic again in this match, meaning we can expect De Bruyne to find similar spaces to operate in. De Bruyne is averaging 1.03 shots on target per 90 this season and his central position for Manchester City caused Chelsea issues in the previous match up. 50% of Manchester City shots came from the centre of the pitch with 28% of City shots also being from outside the 18 yard box. De Bruyne’s quality is well known but he is still very effective, I expect him to have a shot on target in this match.
Kalidou Koulibaly really struggled in the last match, he was booked right at the end of the match with his 3rd foul of the game. These fouls were committed against Manchester City’s wingers who made a huge impact in the second half when Mahrez and Grealish were brought on. We can expect Pep to use his wingers again in this match, which will likely cause problems for the likes of Koulibaly again in this match.
Koulibaly averages 1.52 fouls per match and although he played at centre back, 2 of his fouls were committed where Manchester City’s left winger would be. If Manchester City exploit these areas again, Koulibaly will have to cover this area of the pitch again meaning he is likely to commit a foul again in this match.
As the teams played just a few days ago, we have the benefit of looking at that match to predict what may happen here. Chelsea committed 9 fouls in the match and received 2 yellow cards which is slightly lower than their averages across the Premier League this season. Travelling to the Etihad is about as hard as it gets, Chelsea will want to silence the crowd quickly by getting into challenges. With a lot to prove considering recent results, there is pressure on Chelsea players to show some fight in this match, so I see them getting stuck into Manchester City. Manchester City draw 2.29 yellow cards per game, the second highest of any team in the league and draw 9.18 fouls per match.
Referee Rob Jones is taking charge of this match, he has averaged 3.57 cards per game this season and in his last Chelsea match he gave out 2 yellow cards. Chelsea have a lot to prove in this match and going away to Manchester City can be a frustrating day out so I expect over 1.5 Chelsea cards in this match.
Chelsea came out strong in the previous match and were arguably the better team in the first half yet still only managed 3 corners over the course of the match with just 1 in the second half where Manchester City were more dominant. At home in this match, it is expected that Manchester City will be strong again which will again limit Chelsea’s potential corner count. Chelsea average just 5.06 corners per match anyway and teams facing Manchester City average just 2.18 corners per match. Chelsea struggle to control possession in the opposition’s half and this will be even tougher against Manchester City, therefore it seems extremely unlikely that Chelsea will have a high corner count in this match.
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