A club in crisis at the beginning of the month, everything seems to be clicking into place for Chelsea since the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas and the appointment of John Terry as manager.
I mean Roberto Di Matteo, obviously.
Regardless of who’s really calling the shots behind the scenes, four wins on the trot have seen the Blues move back into contention for a top-four place, progress to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and stage a remarkable comeback against Napoli to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Not only that, but Fernando Torres has located his scoring boots and bagged himself a brace in last weekend’s 5-2 FA Cup win over Leicester.
But they have a tough ask ahead of them if they are to carry on their winning form against Manchester City, with the Citizens boasting a perfect league record at the scene of tomorrow’s clash.
City have the best first half record of all the teams in the division, with nine wins from 14 attempts.
All 14 teams to have taken on Roberto Mancini’s men at the Etihad Stadium in the league this season have left without gaining a point; indeed, only five have so much as registered a goal and only one (Tottenham) have scored more than once.
Having fallen behind neighbours Manchester United in the title race, City cannot afford to slip up now and they are 17/20 favourites to make it 15 wins out of 15 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
But does Chelsea’s resurgence give them a chance of spoiling City’s run at the Etihad? They are priced at 5/2 to come away with a draw and 31/10 to pick up a win.
Crucially, only one of the four games Chelsea have played since AVB’s departure has been played away from home, and that was against Championship side Birmingham in the FA Cup.
Given the absence of evidence to the contrary, it would therefore be premature to pronounce the west London outfit suddenly capable of storming to a win at the Etihad, even if there is undoubtedly more cohesion now than there was two weeks ago.
The feeling is that even Jose Mourinho would struggle to correct the faults which have characterised Chelsea’s away performances in recent times, with defensive sloppiness and the a lack of a cutting edge going forward contributing to a run of just one league win on the road in their last five attempts.
One of the characteristics of this winless run has been Chelsea’s inability to score a first half goal and this could come back to haunt them against a City side who have yet to concede in the opening 45 minutes of a league game at the Etihad.
Man City are priced at 12/25 to keep a clean sheet in the first half but, more importantly, any failure by Chelsea to score could see them trail the Citizens at the break.
City have the best first half record of all the teams in the Premier League, with nine wins from 14 attempts.
And with the Citizens having scored – and been ahead at the interval – in seven of their last nine home league games, another failure in front of goal by Chelsea looks set to leave them in arrears at half time.
With this in mind, odds of 27/20 on City being in front at the half time whistle look well worth taking advantage of, with a successful £25 free bet on this outcome set to return £58.75.
And taking City’s home form into consideration, a win for the title-chasers at both half time and full time looks another tempting option at 9/5.
Recommended bet: Man City to win the first half @ 13/10
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