‘A big psychological battle’: Paul Merson predicts Man City v Chelsea FC

Paul Merson is backing Manchester City to beat Chelsea FC at The Etihad on Saturday afternoon

Paul Merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson (Photo: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson is backing Manchester City to end Chelsea FC’s title hopes with a 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.

Manchester City will start the weekend in top position in the table and 10 points ahead of Chelsea FC in what looks like being a one-sided title race this term.

The Citizens have won their last 11 Premier League games to establish a commanding lead in pole position in the top-flight table ahead of Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC.

Pep Guardiola has lost more matches against Chelsea FC than any other team in the Premier League – the south west London side have traditionally caused Manchester City problems.

Chelsea FC have only won four of their last 11 Premier League games, causing them to lose control of the title race after dropping 21 crucial points.

The Blues have only kept two clean sheets in their last 11 Premier League games ahead of their clash against the second-highest goal-scorers in the division.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson believes Manchester City will edge to a 2-1 victory over Chelsea FC at The Etihad in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.

“If Chelsea don’t win, they are out of the Premier League title race,” Merson told Sportskeeda. “Saying that in mid-January is not a good thing for them, but it’s the reality of the situation.

“This is a massive game, but if you look at the table, Manchester City could probably lose this one and still go on to win the title.

“Pep Guardiola’s side blew Chelsea away at Stamford Bridge even though the scoreline was only 1-0. That just goes to show how good Manchester City have been this season and I think they will get another victory this weekend.

“I fancy these two teams to meet each other in the Champions League once again, so it’ll be a big psychological battle.

“Chelsea had a game on Wednesday night as well and that will play its part. In terms of their attacking options, it’ll be interesting to see who Thomas Tuchel decides to go with.

“Kai Havertz was outstanding in the first leg and played arguably his best football in a Chelsea shirt, but there’s also Timo Werner, whose pace could be a huge asset. That said, if Werner plays, he’ll have to come up against the pace of Kyle Walker, so they could well end up cancelling each other out!

“Havertz, on the other hand, has got the brain and the intelligence to open up teams and make clever runs into the box, so this will be a big call for Tuchel.”

Manchester City have won 12 of their past 24 games against Chelsea FC in the Premier League.

Although Chelsea FC have beaten Guardiola’s Manchester City more time than any other team, the south west London side have lost eight of their past 12 games at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City were 1-0 winners against Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge back in September thanks to Gabriel Jesus’ second-half winner in the English capital.

Author’s Verdict

Manchester City are in supreme form so it’s difficult to see an out-of-sorts Chelsea FC preventing the Guardiola juggernaut from securing another three points.

A Chelsea FC team at the peak of their powers would still struggle to beat Manchester City at The Etihad but the wheels look to be coming off under Thomas Tuchel.

The Blues are struggling to keep clean sheets and the goals are drying up at the other end of the pitch as their record signing Romelu Lukaku continues to underwhelm.

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