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Chelsea’s title hopes hang on their ability to stop Manchester City

Premier League leaders Manchester City travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea this Monday, in an important game for both sides. The hosts can all but wave goodbye to their title aspirations with a defeat, whilst if the visitors are beaten they may see their lead at the top cut to two points going into a hectic festive season. The latest football betting odds have Chelsea as favourites at odds of 7/5, but City have been in excellent form domestically and will take some beating.

Chelsea have put a questionable period behind them and seemingly got their season back on track; Andre Villas Boas’ men have beaten Wolves and Newcastle 3-0 in their last two league games, and Valencia by the same margin in Europe. The victory over the Spaniards guaranteed a place in the knockout rounds for the London club, and will have done much to take pressure off an under-fire coach.

Didier Drogba is back in the Chelsea attack at the expense of Fernando Torres, and the Ivory Coast international has led from the front in his side’s revival in form. With Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge also playing well in a dangerous three-pronged attack, the Stamford Bridge faithful will urge their team to take the game to their big name opponents. Sturridge will be motivated to prove a point against his former employers, and must be marshalled carefully.

Despite a 2-0 victory over a scratch Bayern Munich side in midweek, City crashed out of the Champions League at the expense of Napoli. Europa League football awaits Roberto Mancini’s side, but nothing has changed in the club’s list of priorities; City want to win the Premier League. With the Etihad Stadium team unbeaten domestically and with a five-point buffer at the top of the English top flight, things are looking good for City, but a tricky festive fixture list is sure to test their resolve.

City will be buoyed on by the fact that both Arsenal and Liverpool (twice) have won at Stamford Bridge in recent times, and if the visitors play to their potential there is no reason they won’t leave London with three points. The Citizens have few injury concerns, and their Italian manager has a choice to make 0f who to play in midfield, with Nigel De Jong, James Milner and Gareth Barry all in contention to slot in beside Yaya Toure and David Silva.

This is an important game for City also, as a win could effectively make it a two-horse race, leaving Chelsea 13 points off the pace. United will be smarting after their Champions League exit in midweek, and Sir Alex Ferguson will have his side’s thoughts focussed on cutting the deficit in the race for domestic honours. A win for City would be a real confidence booster going into the New Year, and has the ability to deliver doubts into United minds, as the blue side of Manchester’s ruthless streak would continue.

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