Chelsea can edge City and take another step towards league title

Jose Mourinho has won seven of the eleven meetings as a coach versus Manuel Pellegrini

CHELSEA and Manchester City had a weekend to forget as the two market leaders crashed out of the FA Cup at home to lower-division opposition. Jose Mourinho was shell-shocked as League One Bradford City staged a remarkable comeback to floor his side 4-2.

Manuel Pellegrini will rue City’s decision to arrive back from Abu Dhabi on Friday evening, just hours ahead of taking on Championship high-flyers Middlesbrough, who won 2-0. With a Champions League tie against Barcelona next month, the Chilean knows the Premier League is his best chance of winning silverware this season and arguably at keeping his job.

The sides face off at Stamford Bridge tomorrow in a pivotal match in the race for the title. A City win will close the gap on the Blues at the top of the table to two points, while a home victory will see the odds of 1/5 on Chelsea winning the league contract further.

City have had the better of recent meetings, winning five of the last 10 and losing only three. That includes two FA Cup wins and a Community Shield triumph, but they haven’t won in west London since February 2010.

If Mourinho was looking for a response from his men against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, he got it. They played great attacking football and should have wrapped it up before needing Branislav Ivanovic to seal their final berth in extra-time.

Top-scorer Diego Costa looks likely to be suspended for tomorrow’s clash after a stamp on Emre Can. The Spaniard will be a big miss as his physical style would upset a shaky City back-line that hasn’t kept a clean sheet in seven games.

City have lost their last two to nil and Chelsea had conceded just four goals in 13 home games before that freak result last Saturday. Fixtures between these heavyweights have been tight lately and I can see this game continuing that theme. But Sporting Index have Chelsea’s supremacy spread trading at 0.35-0.55 and buying is recommended.

A narrow home win looks most likely to me and selling total goals at 2.65 with the same firm also looks the way to go. Betway quote 7/1 on a 1-0 home win and that’s worth a wager. Alternatively you could back the one-goal winning margin at 11/8 with the bookmaker – Chelsea’s last three wins over the Citizens have all been by the one goal.

■ Pointers…
Buy Chelsea supremacy at 0.55 with Sporting Index at 0.55
1-0 Chelsea win at 7/1 with Betway