What a difference a year can make.
Just under 365 days ago, Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to put themselves seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table, and on their way to the title.
Antonio Conte’s men won home and away over City last term as they dominated the division – their 30 wins across the season was the most in Premier League history.
City finished 15 points behind the Blues – ending up trophyless, with only late Champions League qualification to show from Pep Guardiola’s first season in England.
However, 12 months on, it is City well clear at the top of the league – and Chelsea sweating on a place in the top four.
The current champions, and the champions-elect meet at the Etihad on Sunday in a game that probably means more for Conte than it does Guardiola.
The Blues lost the first part of their Manchester double-header to United last weekend 2-1, despite taking a first-half lead through Willian.
That result, where they were eventually overpowered by the Red Devils, saw Conte’s charges drop out of the top four for the first time since October – having sat second just seven games ago.
However, only two wins since then have seen Chelsea lose ground at the worst possible time – and given the form of Liverpool and Tottenham, making that back will be no mean feat.
No such problems for City, who sit pretty at the top, having added their first trophy under Guardiola in the Carabao Cup last weekend.
While they have a Champions League game against Basel on Wednesday, their 4-0 first leg lead means they shouldn’t need to rest any stars – especially with Chelsea’s Premier League record of 95 points in a season in their sights.
In fact, according to research from SmartBets, City should be the first team to reach the 100-point barrier (finishing on 101), while their predicted total of 111 goals will also break another record set by the Blues.
City have won all but one of their 14 home league games this term, and very few teams in the world would worry them at the moment – and a wobbling Chelsea probably don’t fall into that category.
The Blues might make it tough, however, having drawn with Barcelona, and were level at half-time despite falling to defeat against United too.
City should win, but the draw HT/Man City FT with Grosvenorsport.com looks a good bet at 7/2.
Draw HT/Man City FT – 7/2 (Grosvenorsport.com)