Chelsea can continue sparkling start at Etihad

Bill Esdaile
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Chelsea look in fine fettle as they bid for successive league wins at Man City

REIGNING Premier League champions Manchester City have endured a frustrating start to the new season, emphasised by a late winner for Bayern Munich from their former defender Jerome Boateng on Wednesday night that inflicted more European misery on the club.

In the league Manuel Pellegrini’s men have taken seven points from four games, failing to win their last two. Sunday’s opponents at the Etihad, Chelsea, have been in sparkling form, smashing in 15 goals and claiming all 12 available points.

Both clubs got their business out of the way early in the summer transfer window, but it looks like Jose Mourinho has the trump cards. His new signings Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have started the campaign in sensational fashion; the former a constant provider and the latter a devastating finisher.

Costa has already hit seven league goals – it took Fernando Torres 43 games to achieve that total – and he will bid to become the first player in history to net in his first five Premier League games. The Spaniard is now trading at a lofty 41-44 on the 60 Golden Boot Index with Sporting Index.

However, like City, Chelsea need to pick themselves up after a poor performance against Schalke in midweek. Complacency took over after they went 1-0 up and the Germans were value for the draw.

Mourinho rested Costa for most of that game, but he’ll surely start on Sunday – hamstring permitting – and will worry a City team that as a whole have only matched the 25-year-old’s league haul.

All the talk may be about goals but I think this will be a tame affair. The Chelsea boss masterminded the only home league defeat on City last season when his players executed his tactics perfectly in a 1-0 triumph.

And four of the last six meetings between the pair have yielded under 2.5 goals. The Blues’ back-line has been uncharacteristically leaky so far, but expect better with the stakes raised here.

City were toothless against Munich and were grateful for poor defending to nick a draw at Arsenal last weekend. Chelsea can probably smell blood and will be confident of repeating last term’s narrow win with similar tactics, so selling total goals at 2.75 with Sporting Index is advised.

Sporting Index traders have the hosts as favourites, with their supremacy pitched at 0.05-0.25. That also looks worth selling as even a draw will make a marginal profit.

■ Pointers…
Sell total goals at 2.75 with Sporting Index
Sell Man City supremacy at 0.05 with Sporting Index