Who: Chelsea vs. Manchester City
What: English Premier League, Week 13
Where: Stamford Bridge, London
When: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Time: 16:00 GMT/11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT
Television: Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Deportes (USA)
Worldwide Live Streams and TV Channels: LiveSoccerTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel 94 (Internet 94)
Referee: Chris Foy
2-Way Odds: Chelsea Pick -115, Manchester City Pick -105
3-Way Odds: Chelsea +155, Manchester City +165, Draw +250
Total: Over 3 +105, Under 3 -125
Source: LVH SuperBook (Las Vegas)
Decimal Odds: Chelsea 12.55, Manchester City 2.65, Draw 3.30
Decimal Total: Over 2.5: 1.65, Under 2.5: 2.20
Fractional Odds: Chelsea 31-20, Manchester City 33-20, Draw 23-10
Fractional Total: Over 2.5: 3-5, Under 2.5: 6-5
Source: sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)
Another weekend, another huge match for Chelsea.
And after all that happened off of the pitch after Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Juventus in Turin in UEFA Champions League group-stage play, both Blues players and fans will certainly welcome the action on the field and not in the press here in what is the most anticipated fixture of the weekend.
Paying a visit to Stamford Bridge this Sunday are defending English Premier League champions and current leaders Manchester City (8-4-0, 28 points), who were eliminated from Champions League play on Wednesday after a 1-1 Group of Death draw with Real Madrid.
Chelsea is still clinging to life in the tournament after Tuesday’s embarrassment but the European champions will have to beat FC Nordsjælland in west London on December 5 and then hope Shakhtar Donetsk can defeat Juventus to stay alive and avoid being the first champion to not make it to the knockout stage the following season.
The Blues (7-3-2, 24 points) now sit in third place. After scuffling in the Champions League and earning just two points in their last four EPL games, they made a managerial change midweek, sending fan favorite Roberto Di Matteo packing and replacing him with Rafa Benítez on an interim basis in a desperate effort to right the ship.
Although this latest edition of Uncle Roman’s Revolving Coaching Door caught many off guard, Chelsea does need some kind of a wake-up call as yet another November swoon has obviously kicked in.
But when one looks at the current 12-game scheduling rough patch the Blues are going through, it’s understandable as most football teams on the planet would have trouble with this slate.
Negotiating two games each with Manchester United and Ukrainian Premier League champions Shakhtar along with dates with Serie A champions Juventus and EPL talents Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Fulham as well as upstarts West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United would be enough to drive any team half mad.
Trend-wise, Chelsea is 6-0-4 in its last 10 meetings with City, but the last time these two met on August 12, the Citizens defeated the 10-man Blues, 3-2, in the Community Shield at Villa Park courtesy of three second-half goals.
Statistically these teams are fairly close with City scoring 25 goals to Chelsea’s 24 while defensively the Sky Blues have allowed a league-low 10 goals—thanks in great part to goalkeeper Joe Hart—while the Blues and Petr Čech have given up 13.
One thing Roberto Mancini’s squad has that Chelsea is sorely lacking is an abundance of quality strikers. Sergio Agüero, Carlos Tévez, Edin Džeko and Mario Balotelli make up the best strike force in the top flight and give the Italian plenty of freedom to make solid substitutions and deal with any injuries.
The Blues, on the other hand, have been relying solely on Fernando Torres, who just might be the most stressed-out dude in the entire United Kingdom right about now.
Both teams’ captains are injured heading into this showdown at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea’s John Terry out for several more weeks and City’s Vincent Kompany listed as doubtful after suffering an injury against Real Madrid on Wednesday and leaving the game on crutches.
With City undefeated in the Premiership and now able to focus completely in league play and Chelsea playing its first game with a new manager and struggling defensively as well as in the confidence department, taking the road team as a healthy plus (+165) is the betting prescription here.
Also noteworthy here is the fact the line opened much higher for underdog City (+195) but was moved 30 units lower by oddsmakers when news that Di Matteo was being replaced with Benítez came out.
Another trend worth noting is that the overs in the Blues last 12 games are now 10-2 in all competitions with an average of 4.66 goals being scored a game.
If there was ever a time for the home team to snap out of its funk and regain some much-needed swagger, this is the match.
But with so much drama in the constant circus that is Chelsea, it’s impossible to recommend taking a shot with them until the royal blue dust finally settles over the Bridge.
And for Chelsea fans, that time can’t come soon enough.
BETS: Manchester City +165, Over 3 +105
PREDICTION: Manchester City 3 Chelsea 1
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