Manchester City v Chelsea: the predictions and the psychology

Having a long winning streak can give a big boost to players, but ending a winning streak with a poor defeat can really knock a team back.

In the space of five days Manchester City lost to Crystal Palace at home and Leicester City away in December while Liverpool went on a winning run and extended their league at the top.

22 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Crystal Palace L 2-3
26 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City L 2-1
30 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester City W 1-3
03 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Liverpool W 2-1
14 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers W 3-0
20 Jan 2019 Huddersfield Town v Manchester City W 0-3
29 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Manchester City L 2-1
03 Feb 2019 Manchester City v Arsenal W 3-1
06 Feb 2019 Everton v Manchester City W 0-2

The defeat against Newcastle suggested more wobbles but the two recent wins, combined with wobbles by Liverpool has given them a real boost.

Chelsea on the other hand have had more wobbles still…

02 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Southampton D 0-0 Premier League
12 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Newcastle United W 2-1 Premier League
19 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Chelsea L 2-0 Premier League
30 Jan 2019 AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea L 4-0 Premier League
02 Feb 2019 Chelsea v Huddersfield Town W 5-0 Premier League

Just two wins in five games this year, and both those against very beatable opponents.   5-0 against Huddersfield won’t wipe out the memories of the defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea and this fact alone makes a Manchester City win look very likely indeed.

Chelsea away are doing ok… seven wins in 12 games is a good return, although their overall goal difference is only five goals.

Away games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
2 Liverpool 13 9 3 1 24 8 16 30
3 Manchester City 13 8 2 3 25 9 16 26
4 Manchester United 13 7 2 4 24 19 5 23
5 Chelsea 12 7 1 4 19 14 5 22

But when we compare this to Manchester City’s home form we find that the chances of a Chelsea win are seriously diminished, not least by the fact that Manchester City score over three goals a game on average and concede only one, when at home.

Home games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 13 12 0 1 43 11 32 36
2 Liverpool 12 10 2 0 32 7 25 32
3 Arsenal 13 10 2 1 28 11 17 32
4 Chelsea 13 8 4 1 26 9 17 28

With Chelsea’s recent wobble and Manchester City’s revival – plus their home form – I can’t see this as anything other than a Manchester City win.

Arsenal v Chelsea: the predictions, the injuries and the psychology

Physioroom is showing Arsenal in the lower reaches of the injury listings, along with Chelsea.  Each has three men out.

Top of the list for injuries is West Ham on nine players down. Only two clubs have fewer injuries than Arsenal and Chelsea.

The three Arsenal men out are Mkhitaryan, Welbeck and Holding.   Mkhitaryan is expected to be back in training next week.  Morata is said to be a slight doubt for Chelsea, while Loftus Cheek and Ginkel are long term injuries

The home and away form

Arsenal’s away form this year has improved slightly but their home form is not quite as solid as it was before – although still very decent.

Home games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 12 11 0 1 40 10 30 33
2 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28
3 Arsenal 11 8 2 1 24 10 14 26
4 Chelsea 12 7 4 1 21 9 12 25
5 Manchester United 10 6 3 1 21 13 8 21
6 Everton 12 6 3 3 20 16 4 21
7 Tottenham Hotspur 10 6 0 4 18 10 8 18

Just the one home defeat and that at the very start of the season.  Arsenal have played 11 won eight and drawn two with just one defeat.  The club has the third best home scoring record, and the third best defensive record in the league.

However when we look at the away form we can see that Chelsea are doing very well also – so we have the third best home team in the league against the third best away team.

Away games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 12 10 0 2 28 12 16 30
2 Liverpool 12 9 2 1 23 7 16 29
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20
5 Manchester United 12 6 2 4 23 19 4 20
6 Leicester City 11 5 2 4 13 13 0 17
7 Watford 11 4 4 3 16 14 2 16
8 Arsenal 11 4 3 4 22 22 0 15

Chelsea have been scoring fractionally under two a game while conceding under one a game.  That will be tough for Arsenal.

Recent results

Arsenal are the team out of form…

16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal L 3-2
19 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur LC L 0-2
22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 3-1
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-1
01 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Fulham W 4-1
05 Jan 2019 Blackpool v Arsenal FAC W 0-3
12 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Arsenal L 1-0

The recent Arsenal wins have been against very modest opposition, except for Tottenham who themselves are doing very well away from home this season.

Chelsea’s results look like this

22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City L 0-1
26 Dec 2018 Watford v Chelsea W 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Chelsea W 0-1
02 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Southampton D 0-0
05 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Nottingham Forest FAC W 2-0
08 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea LC L 1-0
12 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Newcastle United W 2-1

There is a consistency of low scoring games, even against more modest opposition, and in addition that defeat in the League Cup to Tottenham.   But away from home of late they have been seen edging past Watford and Palace, each by just a single goal.

That suggests that if Arsenal can take the lead they might be able to hold Chelsea at bay.

But Arsenal have been poor at taking the lead, spending much more time trying to recover in the second half from the sins of the first half.

The psychology

Arsenal seem to be much edgier than Chelsea not least because there is no money it seems, there is the chance of a much heralded senior member of the management team thinking of leaving, and because they are under constant attack in the media.  Plus their current results don’t look too clever.

I think a low scoring game; Chelsea might just sneak this by one goal.

Chelsea v Newscastle United: the predictions, the psychology, the injuries

We would expect Chelsea, a top four contending club, to be strong at home, and so they are…

Home games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 11 10 0 1 37 10 27 30
2 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28
3 Arsenal 11 8 2 1 24 10 14 26
4 Chelsea 11 6 4 1 19 8 11 22

But not quite as strong as we might expect with four draws and a defeat in the 11 games.

Newcastle United have a reputation of being very poor this season, but actually their away form isn’t that bad…

Away matches only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 12 10 0 2 28 12 16 30
2 Liverpool 11 8 2 1 22 7 15 26
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20
5 Manchester United 11 5 2 4 22 19 3 17
6 Leicester City 11 5 2 4 13 13 0 17
7 Arsenal 10 4 3 3 22 21 1 15
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 4 3 3 11 10 1 15
9 West Ham United 10 4 2 4 13 14 -1 14
10 Watford 10 3 4 3 14 13 1 13
11 Crystal Palace 11 4 1 6 14 17 -3 13
12 Newcastle United 10 2 5 3 8 12 -4 11

Yes only two wins away but they have had five away draws.   So Chelsea knocking up home draws and Newcastle getting away draws; that could be a strong clue.

Chelsea’s home draws have come in these games

29 Sep 2018 Chelsea v Liverpool D 1-1
20 Oct 2018 Chelsea v Manchester United D 2-2
11 Nov 2018 Chelsea v Everton D 0-0
02 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Southampton D 0-0

And what is interesting is that these are not just draws against other top six clubs but against a variety of teams, spread across the season.

18 Aug 2018 Cardiff City v Newcastle United D 0-0
22 Sep 2018 Crystal Palace v Newcastle United D 0-0
27 Oct 2018 Southampton v Newcastle United D 0-0
05 Dec 2018 Everton v Newcastle United D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Watford v Newcastle United D 1-1

A propensity for 0-0 and 1-1 draws.

The psychology

Chelsea know they have to keep winning to ensure they get the craved for top four place to avoid another Europa League season, although like Arsenal they have a fall back of winning the Europa to gain entry to the Champions League next season.

Newcastle know that they just need to keep picking up points to ensure they don’t get relegated.   But they also know that the clubs below them are liable to keep on losing games.

Here’s the bottom of the league table.

Pos Club P W D L F A GD
Pts
15 Newcastle United 21 4 6 11 15 29 -14 18
16 Burnley 21 5 3 13 21 42 -21 18
17 Cardiff City 21 5 3 13 19 41 -22 18
18 Southampton 21 3 7 11 21 38 -17 16
19 Fulham 21 3 5 13 19 47 -28 14
20 Huddersfield Town 21 2 4 15 13 37 -24 10

As for injuries Chelsea and Newcastle are each shown with five players injured by Physioroom although they are still showing Fabregas as a Chelsea player, while in fact he has gone to Monaco.  Morata and Hudson Odoi are possibly recovered enough to play today.  Diame and Fernandez could be back for Newcastle.

This could well be a draw, which would look like a surprise if one didn’t check the home and away ratings.   In which case 1-1 seems the most obvious score.  Second choice would be a 2-1 win to Chelsea.

Chelsea v Southampton: the predictions

It is perhaps interesting to note that Chelsea have a home record this season similar to the much criticised Manchester United and worse than Arsenal, on whom a lot of opprobrium has been placed of late.  Here is the league table showing home games only…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28
2 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Manchester United 10 6 3 1 21 13 8 21

Six wins, three draws and just one defeat of course is not bad but as the results of the top two in the table show, not enough to be challenging for a title.  And Chelsea have the lowest number of goals scored out of the top five at home.

Of course this hardly gives them too much to worry about in terms of Southampton’s away form…

13 Everton 10 2 3 5 13 15 -2 9
14 AFC Bournemouth 10 3 0 7 12 23 -11 9
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 10 2 1 7 7 16 -9 7
16 Southampton 10 2 1 7 10 21 -11 7
17 Cardiff City 10 1 2 7 6 18 -12 5
18 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 8 21 -13 5
19 Burnley 10 1 2 7 7 21 -14 5
20 Fulham 10 0 2 8 6 24 -18 2

Just two wins in ten, averaging one goal a game scored and two conceded.

Chelsea in the league in December doesn’t reveal anything to worry about either – although those two defeats were both against clubs that we would not expect to see beating Chelsea – and one was at home and one away.  There is a weakness in there somewhere.

02 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Fulham W 2-0
05 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea L 2-1
08 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Manchester City W 2-0
16 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Chelsea W 1-2
22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City L 0-1
26 Dec 2018 Watford v Chelsea W 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Chelsea W 0-1

Perhaps the other thing to notice is that Chelsea are not knocking in the goals at fullest speed.  One game without a goal, and the rest are games with one and two goals scored.

Southampton in December have only played league games (Chelsea also had League Cup, Europa League and even a Trophy match), so in theory have less strain on the squad.

01 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester United D 2-2
05 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton L 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Southampton L 1-0
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal W 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Southampton W 1-3
27 Dec 2018 Southampton v West Ham United L 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester City L 1-3

Southampton’s wins against Arsenal who have been running into trouble of late and Huddersfield who are deeper in the mire than Southampton both saw the club scoring three goals, and in only one match above did they fail to score.

Chelsea however are only conceding one at most, in recent games, so the best Southampton could hope for is a goalless draw, maybe just a 1-1, but otherwise it looks like a 2-0 win to Chelsea.

 

Watford v Chelsea: match predictions

Watford have been having a poor run, but have suddenly come out of it in the last couple of results…

Date Game Res Score Competition
03 Nov 2018 Newcastle United v Watford L 1-0 Premier League
10 Nov 2018 Southampton v Watford D 1-1 Premier League
24 Nov 2018 Watford v Liverpool L 0-3 Premier League
01 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Watford L 2-0 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 Watford v Manchester City L 1-2 Premier League
10 Dec 2018 Everton v Watford D 2-2 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Watford v Cardiff City W 3-2 Premier League
22 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Watford W 0-2 Premier League

Now of course neither Cardiff nor West Ham are top six teams, but even so it required a pick up in form by Watford to get those two victories, scoring five goals.   Indeed add in the Everton game and we have seven goals scored by Watford in the last three Premier League games.

And in fact when we look at Watford’s home form they are in the top half of the table

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
2 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
3 Liverpool 8 7 1 0 18 2 16 22
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Everton 10 5 3 2 18 15 3 18
6 AFC Bournemouth 10 5 2 3 16 14 2 17
7 Tottenham Hotspur 7 5 0 2 12 6 6 15
8 Manchester United 8 4 3 1 14 11 3 15
9 Watford 9 5 0 4 14 15 -1 15

In fact Watford have the same number of home points as Tottenham and Manchester United, although to be fair they have played more games at home.  The only thing missing is the solid home defence.  15 conceded at home is problematic.

Chelsea away from home are interesting…

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Manchester City 8 5 2 1 15 4 11 17
4 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 16 7 9 16
5 Arsenal 8 4 2 2 20 15 5 14
6 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 20 19 1 14
7 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14
8 Watford 9 3 3 3 11 10 1 12

Five wins one draw and two defeats is pretty much par for a top six club away from home, and 16 goals against 9 shows they probably go into this game fairly confident of a win by 2-1.

Chelsea’s recent results however are also interesting…

Date Game Res Score Competition
05 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea L 2-1 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Manchester City W 2-0 Premier League
13 Dec 2018 Videoton v Chelsea D 2-2 Europa League
16 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Chelsea W 1-2 Premier League
19 Dec 2018 Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth W 1-0 League Cup
22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City L 0-1 Premier League

We don’t need to worry too much about the Europa League game but two defeats in four Premier League games, with the team losing away to Wolverhampton and at home to Leicester suggest there is something not completely right.

When we come to the full league table, Chelsea’s expectation of a top four place and thus a return to the Champions League looks very possible – but not guaranteed.   They are unlikely, as things stand, to be caught by Manchester United (it would need a bad run by Chelsea to allow Man U to catch up) but there must also be a concern that Arsenal could overtake them

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 18 15 3 0 39 7 32 48
2 Manchester City 18 14 2 2 50 13 37 44
3 Tottenham Hotspur 18 14 0 4 37 18 19 42
4 Chelsea 18 11 4 3 35 15 20 37
5 Arsenal 18 11 4 3 40 24 16 37
6 Manchester United 18 8 5 5 34 30 4 29
7 Watford 18 8 3 7 25 25 0 27

Chelsea’s victory over the 7th placed team is still likely, but it can’t be taken utterly for granted and there is an outside chance of a draw.  But a Watford victory would be a shock.