A faltering Manchester City faces a red-hot Chelsea side at the Etihad in a critical matchup between two clubs that are desperately trying to stop Liverpool from running away with the Premier League title.

Manchester City Chelsea EPL
Manchester City hosts Chelsea in a match that both sides need to win to keep pace in the Premier League title race. (Image: Reuters)

Chelsea is currently in third place after having won six straight EPL matches, while defending champions, Manchester City are coming off a 3-1 loss to Liverpool that put the club nine points back of the leaders.

City Still Alive, But Far Behind in Title Defense

It will be hard for either side – or Leicester City, which currently sits in second place on goal differential over Chelsea – to mount a challenge against Liverpool unless the Reds start dropping points. Liverpool is currently 11-1-0 on the season, with its only blemish being a draw at Manchester United a month ago.

Still, bookmakers aren’t counting City out just yet. The two-time defending title winners made up a sizable deficit to Liverpool last season as well. DraftKings Sportsbook currently sees the Reds as a -290 favorite, but City is still given a legitimate shot at +230. Chelsea and Leicester are both +4400 long shots, while everyone else in the league is fetching 250/1.

That makes Saturday’s clash critical for both sides if they want to stay in the race. It’s also important in terms of long-term positioning for a Champions League spot, as only the top four teams in the EPL are guaranteed positions in the European competition.

“The first thing we need to think about is top four,” Chelsea midfielder Jorginho told VBET News. “We are doing very well, and we just have to keep going like this.”

Staying in the mix for a top position – whether that means a title run or simply a European berth – means doing well against elite competition. A match at Manchester City could prove that Chelsea’s young core of players like Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic is for real, or if they’re still a year or more away from being true contenders.

“What can you say about Manchester City? They’re one of the best teams in the world and we know that,” Jorginho said. “It’s very hard to play against them. We are prepared for that game and we know it’ll be difficult.”

Bookmakers agree with that assessment. City is a -230 home favorite to win the match outright, while Chelsea is a +550 pick to win the game outright.

Mourinho Debuts as Tottenham Manager

There’s another match this weekend that will attract significant attention, despite not being relevant in the title race.

Jose Mourinho will make his debut as the new manager of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, when his club travels to West Ham. A disappointing start for Spurs has left the team in 14th place, with a long way to go to even get back in contention for a spot in a European competition next season.

While Mourinho recognizes that this season may be a lost cause, he thinks it won’t be long before Tottenham are contenders yet again, despite not winning the top English league title since 1961.

“We cannot win the Premier League this year. I am not saying we will, but we can win it next year,” Mourinho said at a press conference. “If we win titles, it will not be because of me. It will be because of the club’s work. It will be because of the vision and plan of the whole club.”

Supporters expect Mourinho to get off to a strong start this weekend. Tottenham is a -135 favorite, despite being on the road at West Ham (+330).