BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson is expecting a stalemate when Manchester City travel to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the lunchtime kickoff.
While he feels the home side are much stronger than the team that lost 3-1 in the corresponding fixture last season, Lawrenson says a draw is the likeliest outcome as both managers won’t be taking too many risks:
“The last time Manchester City went to Stamford Bridge, in January, they took Chelsea apart with three goals in the first 35 minutes, but that was before Thomas Tuchel took over and this is a very different Chelsea side now. The games between the big four – these two, plus Liverpool and Manchester United – are going to be so important this season.”
“It seems pretty obvious they will end up clear of the rest, but in what order? These meetings, and their mini-league, will decide that. Chelsea are going very well and brushed Spurs aside in the second half on Sunday but I can’t see this being an open game, because neither manager will want to lose it.”
Lawrenson has gone with a 1-1 draw; a result which manager Pep Guardiola will probably take considering the Citizens have a number of players either not fully fit or out injured.
Especially with difficult away games against Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool coming up, Guardiola won’t want to go into either match off the back of a negative result.
Chelsea would probably be content with a point too, as it would maintain their three-point gap over City in the Premier League table. We shall see if the match plays out that way this afternoon.