Chelsea's Current Form and Future Premier League Schedule Should Alarm Man City

Phil KeidelContributor IIJanuary 11, 2014

Even Torres is finding the net these days.
Even Torres is finding the net these days.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Chelsea's 2-0 strangulation of Hull City put the Blues atop the Premier League at least momentarily, plunging Manchester City into third place pending tomorrow's match with Newcastle United.

Jose Mourinho's side is finding its form at precisely the right time. City boss Manuel Pellegrini will have all he can handle to stave Chelsea off for the Premier League crown.

And to a large measure, Chelsea's inside track for the Premier League title as against City is found in the remaining schedules of both teams.

Chelsea will play the following Premier League contenders at Stamford Bridge as the season runs its course: Manchester United, Newcastle United, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.

Starting with Newcastle United, City have away matches with all five of those sides still on the slate. And the Citizens also have to go to Anfield to take on Liverpool.

You may have heard that Manchester City do not play very well away from home. The remaining travel schedule for Pellegrini and his team will put that road form to a series of harsh tests.

Chelsea have only two league road trips left that might really trouble them. Mourinho's men visit the Etihad on Feb. 3 and venture to Anfield on Apr. 26.

The Special One has lots to smile about.
The Special One has lots to smile about.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

In the interim, the away matches are against the following moribund sides: West Bromwich Albion, Fulham, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Swansea City. Not exactly a murderers' row.

Lately, even in the rare instance where Chelsea lose, they sort of win.

Chelsea fell out of the Capital One Cup with a quarter-final loss to Sunderland on Dec. 17, also known as the last time Chelsea lost.

Mourinho would never come out and say it, but avoiding the three extra matches (two legs of the semi-final and the final at Wembley) that City are likely to play is not the worst thing for a side with Chelsea's Premier League and Champions League aspirations.

Anyone who saw Yaya Toure crumpled up in a heap in City's Capital One Cup road leg with West Ham (which City won 6-0) understands why.

Remarkably, despite all this, City are presently an even-money choice at Ladbrokes to win the Premier League. Chelsea are 12-to-5; after that it is Arsenal at 4-to-1 and Liverpool at 9-to-1.

Given the fixtures Chelsea and City have left on their schedules, Chelsea look like a real value at those odds.