Man City v Chelsea: Benitez’ blues to grow

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A dispiriting defeat at the hands of Southampton resulted in the puncture of any dreams that Manchester City still harboured of reclaiming their Premier League crown, but they will ensure the team trying to creep up behind them will remain at arms length with a win at Eastlands.

Their 1/1 favouritism represents incredible value against a Chelsea team struggling for any kind of fluency and can count themselves lucky not to have had to play extra-time against grossly inferior Sparta Prague in midweek.

Rafa Benitez may absorb jeers like a sponge, but he’s not extracting the sort of performances that will see fans of the Blues won over. They’re 13/5 to score a big victory on the road, with the draw available to back at 5/2, but both should be avoided like Petr Cech’s headgear.

City have not lost to their wealthy rivals in three outings home and away, they have also gone three without defeat on their own patch against this opposition.

The Blues have hit a rocky patch on the road of late, which further heightens the value of siding with hosts here. Once a reliable money-maker on their travels, Chelsea have won just once – at Sparta Prague in the Europa League – in five road games.

In this period they have conceded more than one goal on three occasions, playing as many matches that have produced over 3.5 goals. It makes backing over 3.5 goals in this clash a worthwhile foray, especially at 2/1, and the same can be said of lumping on City to register north of the 1.5 mark at 10/11.

The promise of goals looks even greater when you consider that three of the last four in which these have locked horns have given over 2.5-goal backers reasons to be cheerful.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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