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.

Manchester City v Arsenal; the psychology and form

This year, Arsenal’s form has been erratic.  Having suffered a 5-1 defeat by Liverpool they have been through ups and downs…

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
19 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-0
25 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Manchester United FAC L 1-3
29 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Cardiff City W 2-1

The win over Chelsea looked particularly encouraging until Bournemouth went two better, and suggested Chelsea were not all we thought they were.  The win over Cardiff was not emphatic against a team with such a poor away record, and Arsenal were completely beaten by Manchester United.

Manchester City started the new year like a team going for the title but had one little wobble last week.

03 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Liverpool W 2-1
06 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Rotherham United FAC W 7-0
09 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Burton Albion Lge Cup W 9-0
14 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers W 3-0
20 Jan 2019 Huddersfield Town v Manchester City W 0-3
23 Jan 2019 Burton Albion v Manchester City Lge Cup W 0-1
26 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Burnley FAC W 5-0
29 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Manchester City L 2-1

and as we can see they slipped up against Newcastle, perhaps mistaking the team for another Burton.

Such results can give players extra nerves – a sense of “not letting that happen again” entering their play.

But their home form is probably far too impressive to allow for such nerves and it would need a team who are brilliant away from home to upset them.

The home form league table shows us just how solid Manchester City are at home

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 12 11 0 1 40 10 30 33
2 Liverpool 12 10 2 0 32 7 25 32
3 Arsenal 13 10 2 1 28 11 17 32
4 Chelsea 12 7 4 1 21 9 12 25
5 Manchester United 12 7 4 1 25 16 9 25

11 wins and just one defeat – showing the team scoring almost four goals a game.   Away from home Arsenal don’t have any form remotely like this…

1 Tottenham H 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
2 Liverpool 12 9 2 1 23 7 16 29
3 Manchester City 12 7 2 3 23 9 14 23
4 Chelsea 12 7 1 4 19 14 5 22
5 Manchester Utd 12 6 2 4 23 19 4 20
6 Leicester City 13 5 3 5 17 18 -1 18
7 Watford 12 4 4 4 17 16 1 16
8 Arsenal 11 4 3 4 22 22 0 15

Arsenal away have won four, drawn three and lost four and they are equal in goals scored and goals conceded.

Which really places the psychological issues at Arsenal’s door.  What is worse is that the psychological issue of Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat to Liverpool will still be raw, and a couple of early goals for Manchester City could lead to disaster.

Even a recourse to recent history doesn’t help Arsenal much… – results again from Arsenal’s point of view…

08 May 2016 Manchester City v Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
18 Dec 2016 Manchester City v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
02 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Manchester City D 2-2 Premier League
23 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Manchester City W 2-1 FA Cup
05 Nov 2017 Manchester City v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
25 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 League Cup
01 Mar 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 Premier League
12 Aug 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-2 Premier League

Four straight defeats in the last four games, with only one goal scored and 11 conceded, and just one win in the last eight matches.  This will also weigh on Arsenal minds.  I think it will be a win for Manchester City with much difficulty.

 

 

Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers predictions and psychology

My suspicion is that Manchester City expected to win the league title this season as easily as they did last season, and have been unprepared for the strength of Liverpool’s challenge.   Certainly anyone placing a bet on Liverpool being this far ahead at this point of the season would have got stupendous odds and rather strange looks as the bookie happily took the money.

But we are where we are and Liverpool are out in front.  All Man City can do is win their games.

In terms of home performances they are right out front

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 12 7 4 1 21 9 12 25

and that in itself makes any match on their ground look like a home win.

Wolverhampton’s away record is not so clever…

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 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 4 3 3 11 10 1 15

Four wins, three draws and three defeats scoring just one goal a game and letting in the same.   While Manchester City at home score three or four on average and concede just one.   Which makes it look like a straight 4-1, or at least 3-1, to Manchester City.

All Wolverhampton can look for is a recent dip in form from City but even that is missing…

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
06 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Rotherham United FAC W 7-0
09 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Burton Albion Lge Cup W 9-0

After the defeats to Palace and Leicester Manchester City have recovered and have knocked in 21 goals in four games, although two were against lower league teams.  But such team still have to be beaten.   There is nothing here to show that they are in any mood to do anything other than score as many goals as possible.

Wolverhampton themselves have had a bit of a boost of late…

05 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea W 2-1
09 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers W 1-2
15 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v AFC Bournemouth W 2-0
21 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool L 0-2
26 Dec 2018 Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers W 1-3
02 Jan 2019 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Crystal Palace L 0-2
07 Jan 2019 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool FAC W 2-1

Three straight wins early in December, and a modest defeat to Liverpool which itself was offset by knocking Liverpool out of the Cup – in a season when Liverpool were clearly hoping for a second league and cup double.

That win over Liverpool and earlier against Tottenham at Wembley were both remarkable, and when we add in the Chelsea game it looks as if Wolves have a secret weapon against the big clubs.  But Tottenham are slipping up at Wembley – a ground they seem to hate – and I can’t see Manchester City letting any more points drop away.   They still have hopes of catching Liverpool even though it means waiting for Liverpool to slip.

I’ll stick with my easy win for Man City.

Manchester City v Liverpool: the predictions and the psychology

Manchester City at home are only second best to Liverpool – having dropped points in a defeat as opposed to a draw.  The factor Manchester City have in their favour is that at home they are scoring 3.5 goals a match on average – which gives them a lot of leeway when facing a team at the top of the league.

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 11 8 2 1 24 10 14 26
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21

Looking at the away performance Liverpool are the team who drop down a place from their overall league position…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 12 10 0 2 28 12 16 30
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20

Tottenham’s performance away is quite something – and may well be related to their happiness away because they are not playing at Wembley and thus reminded yet again of the delays in the building of their stadium, and allegations that it is being built on the cheap.

But Liverpool, although unbeaten away, have only knocked in 21 goals – 2.1 per game, against Manchester City’s 3.5 a game.  In defence away from home Liverpool are slightly better off conceding 0.5 goals a game away to 0.9 for Manchester City at home.

But these figures combined do leave Manchester City with a goal difference at home, 10 greater than Liverpool away.

In December in the league Manchester City got these results…

01 Dec 2018 Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth W 3-1
04 Dec 2018 Watford v Manchester City W 1-2
08 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Manchester City L 2-0
15 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Everton W 3-1
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

Three defeats against four victories – clearly not was expected by those in power which is what makes me think Manchester City will go out on another spending spree – although they will have the problem in that they are pretty well full of non-home-grown players and so will be looking for home growners to keep them growing.  As it were.  Unless they flog off some of their expensive foreigners on the cheap.

Liverpool in December had a perfect run of wins – including an extra game with a 1-0 win in the Champions League.  A perfect month.

02 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Everton W 1-0
05 Dec 2018 Burnley v Liverpool W 1-3
08 Dec 2018 AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool W 0-4
16 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Manchester United W 3-1
21 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool W 0-2
26 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Newcastle United W 4-0
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal W 5-1

22 goals in seven games – an average of 3.14 per game.  Manchester City scored 14 in seven, an average of two per game.

So Liverpool have the advantages of both no defeats in December and more goals scored.  They are the team in form.   Manchester City however have the form in goal scoring across the whole season.

The psychological effect

I believe that the ownership of Manchester City expected the club to win the league season year after year rather like Bayern in Germany and Juventus in Italy.  I suspect the manager and players had pretty much the same idea.  Just as the revelations about the way Manchester City and Uefa handled negotiations over expenditure in relation to Champions League rules, I do believe there is no thought that either rules or second best applies to them.

Now they don’t just have pesky neighbours who haven’t won the league in 29 years, they have pesky neighbours who are above them and on a better run.  That’s not the plan at all.

This could be causing some tension, and following their nine goals in the last two games, I suspect the psychological balance is very much with Liverpool.  They just expect to score, and go on scoring.

I have Liverpool to win, maybe 2-1.

Southampton v Manchester City: the predictions

Starting as usual with our look at the home and away form of the two clubs, Southampton have only won one game at home

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
16 Fulham 9 2 3 4 11 19 -8 9
17 Southampton 9 1 5 3 10 14 -4 8
18 Newcastle United 10 2 1 7 7 15 -8 7
19 Burnley 9 2 1 6 10 20 -10 7
20 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 4 14 -10 5

However that was just recently and it was against Arsenal.

Manchester City on the other hand we might expect to have an excellent away form and yet…

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 Chelsea 9 6 1 2 18 8 10 19
4 Manchester City 9 5 2 2 16 6 10 17
5 Arsenal 9 4 3 2 21 16 5 15

In fact Manchester City’s away form is only slightly better than Arsenal’s this season, and yet last season Arsenal had a terrible away form, that was the prime cause of them not qualifying for the Champions League.

However, Manchester City have only conceded six goals away from home while Southampton have conceded over twice as many at home.  That would seem to indicate that this will be the moment that Manchester City’s wobble will be over.

Southampton have had two wins of late in the Premier League

24 Nov 2018 Fulham v Southampton L 3-2
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

With that win over Arsenal and then against struggling Huddersfield it is possible that the club thought they were on the way, but a home defeat to West Ham put a dent in that.

December has not been the best of months for Manchester City however, at least when it comes to the League:

01 Dec 2018 Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth W 3-1 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 Watford v Manchester City W 1-2 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Manchester City L 2-0 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Everton W 3-1 Premier League
22 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Crystal Palace L 2-3 Premier League
26 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City L 2-1 Premier League

Three defeats in the league all season and they have all come in the last four games.  What is more in the last four games Manchester City have conceded eight goals.  That hardly seems many but that is over half of all the league goals they have conceded in 19 games.  It really has been an implosion.

But can Southampton make the most of this?

Southampton has scored 20 and let in 35 all season so far.  Now 35 goals conceded in 19 games is a little bit on the high side – only Cardiff, Burnley and Fulham have done worse.  As for goals scored, despite their recent woes Manchester City are the top scoring team with 51 in 1 games making 2.68 goals per game.

The last time Southampton beat Manchester City was on 1 May 2016 – the result was 4-2.  Since then there has been one draw on Man City’s own ground, and then four straight City victories.  The last on 4 November was a home win for Man City by six goals to one.   Could Southampton really reverse that?

The City bad run will finish sometime, and I suspect that finish will come with another Man City win in this game, to get them rolling along once more.  They might also do some serious buying in the transfer window to expand their squad, which in terms of the 25 is one of the smallest in the league.

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