Chelsea, City in Early Title Race


Though the Premier League may just be seven weeks old and too early to decide who wins the title but this weekend’s fixture between Chelsea and leaders–Manchester City will go a long way in deciding where the title tilts to. City lost the two fixtures last season and therefore Pep Guardiola and his men will have revenge in mind. Both sides recorded a convincing win last weekend scoring nine goals between them. It would therefore be a battle royale and a game for the neutrals to enjoy

Manchester City travel to Stamford Bridge this evening in a bid to cement their label as serious title contenders. Pep Guardiola’s men failed to beat the defending Champions last season and will be keen to bolster their credentials against Top Six teams.

What looks to be City’s biggest game of the season so far, a draw here would most likely insert some clarity on a flawless start to the campaign, but a win would surely send a frightening message.

Both Chelsea and Manchester City head into the match full of confidence following their respective midweek wins in Europe. No side has scored more than the 21 Premier League goals managed by Man City, who also boast the league’s joint-best defensive record.

However, City’s preparations for Chelsea have been seriously disrupted by Sergio Aguero’s involvement in a car crash. Thankfully, the Argentine is alive and well but initial reports suggest he will miss six-eight weeks of football.

Guardiola also confirmed that the knee injury suffered by Benjamin Mendy will keep the left-back out for longer than he expected, as it is believed that Mendy could be sidelined for the majority of the season.

Ilkay Gundogan returned to the bench in midweek and is expected to be involved again on today, but Captain Vincent Kompany is a major doubt with a calf injury, while Kevin de Bruyne will face his former employers.

Guardiola is under pressure to make good on a huge amount of pre-season spending that saw him splash out more than £130 million on three full-backs alone by bringing major silverware back to the Etihad Stadium.

The Spanish manager, speaking before the full extent of Mendy’s injury was confirmed Thursday, said: “We have Danilo, Fabian Delph and Oleks Zinchenko who can play there so we will see as we go along.”

Both City and Chelsea, three points behind both Guardiola’s men and second-placed Manchester United, go into today’s game on the back of midweek Champions League victories over Shakhtar Donetsk and Atletico Madrid respectively.

Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is unhappy that, while City played at home on Tuesday, his side have a short turnaround after arriving back in London in the early hours of Thursday morning following their success in the Spanish capital.

“I think we are a bit penalised,” said Conte. “Man City is a really strong team. They are scoring a lot of goals (21 in six Premier League games alone), they are in a good moment of form and we have to prepare well for this game because it is very important. There is the international break after this weekend,” the Italian added. “My surprise is for this because there is the time to play the game later.”

Newcastle will be aiming to put another dent in Liverpool’s Premier League title ambitions at St James’ Park on Sunday. The Red’s season looked to be heading from strength to strength after a 4-0 demolition of Arsenal at the end of August, but Klopp’s side won just one of their six games in September.

The Reds drew their opening two Champions League group games and sit five points off the pace in the Premier League, and must now find a way past a resurgent Newcastle side on Sunday.

Things looked bleak for Newcastle after losing their opening three games in all competitions this term, but the Magpies then won three in a row – before losing at Brighton last weekend to sit ninth as Rafa Bentiez plays host to his former club this weekend.

Aleksandar Mitrovic is set to return after completing a three-match ban for the Magpies while Klopp will be able to call on Sadio Mane after the forward served his three-match domestic suspension for a red card in the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City.

United will be huge favourites to beat basement club Crystal Palace at Old Trafford today.

Far from soaring, the Eagles have lost all six of their league matches so far this season and have still to score their first top-flight goal of a campaign where they have already sacked Frank de Boer and brought in former England boss Roy Hodgson — a boyhood Palace fan — in a bid to arrest their slump.

Tottenham Hotspur, fresh from seeing England striker Harry Kane score a hat-trick in a 3-0 Champions League win away to APOEL Nicosia, are at surprise high-flyers Huddersfield while Watford will look to consolidate their position in the top half at West Bromwich Albion.

Elsewhere West Ham, with just Bournemouth and Palace below them in the table, will hope to ease the pressure on manager Slaven Bilic when they welcome Swansea to the London Stadium, while Southampton are away to Stoke.

The pick of Sunday’s three Premier League matches sees Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez up against former club

Arsenal and Everton, fresh from Europa League duty, are at home to Brighton and Burnley respectively.