Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho pits his managerial wits against Manchester City dugout don Manuel Pellegrini for the tenth time in their distinguished careers in the club’s Sabbath showdown.
Coming face-to-face with the silver-haired Chilean once again is likely to conjure many a happy memory for the Stamford Bridge sting puller, who has enjoyed by far the better of their head-to-head down the years.
The first dance came back in October 2010, when Mourinho’s Real Madrid humbled his opposite number’s Malaga side by a margin of no less than seven goals to nil.
Since then things have more often than not been far closer for the pair, yet at present the Chelsea manager leads their ongoing tit-for-tat by a tit-heavy six successes to one, with a single further fixture ending honours even.
The formbook includes the deuce over Pellegrini’s title-winning Citizens during the latter’s first Premier League campaign, but Chelsea find themselves outsiders in the match betting nonetheless.
City are the 6/4 favourites for a maximum serving of league-title pursuing lifeblood, with their esteemed guests’ chances rated at 19/10 by the bwin odds moguls, while, at 12/5, the draw has its own allure.
It’s not simply due to the fact that the Etihad showdown is between the two pre-eminent forces in the English top flight that suggests that wagering on a stalemate could prove a successful ploy either.
After Mourinho v Pellegrini I and II, which went the way of the younger man by an aggregate score of 11-0, just one of their most recent seven face-offs has been decided by more than a single strike.
That was the final meeting in Spain, which went the way of Los Blancos by a 6-2 scoreline.
However, Malaga saw Sergio Sanchez sent off after just 21 minutes on that occasion, with ever-faithful Pellegrini-lieutenant Martin Demichelis joining him in the cooler 17 minutes from time.
Bearing this in mind, and given the Chilean has recourse to a far more competitive squad in Manchester, the 13/10 about either side claiming victory by a one-goal margin has the look of a historically endorsed gamble.