Chelsea travel to league leaders Manchester City in hopes of keeping Premier League title race alive


Chelsea travel to Manchester City on Saturday knowing victory is essential if they are to keep pace with the Premier League’s relentless leaders this season.

City’s 11th straight league win – a last 2-1 win at Arsenal on New Year’s Day – put the champions 10 points clear of second-placed Chelsea as Pep Guardiola’s side look on track to retain the title with another record points total. .

It’s the fifth time City have won 11 or more consecutive wins in the competition, although all is not lost for Chelsea ahead of their trip to the Etihad Stadium as three of the previous four runs have ended in a game at residence.

Thomas Tuchel’s European champions have struggled to match their early season form of late, having picked up one win and four draws in their last five league games.

The German is fully aware of the difficulty of reviewing City’s advantage and preventing the league leaders from winning four Premier League titles in five seasons.

“They are relentless,” Tuchel told reporters after his side’s 2-2 draw against Liverpool in Chelsea’s last league game.

“They know what it takes to produce those peak seasons over and over again. We are next in this race but it is a big gap. Maybe it will take us more than one season to catch up with Man City. « 

DERBY DUEL

Two teams whose fortunes have improved in recent months meet on Sunday when fifth-placed Arsenal go to Tottenham Hotspur, who are looking to win three consecutive league games at home to their north London rivals for the first time since August 1961.

Sixth-placed Spurs are now two points behind Arsenal with two games in hand after going unbeaten in their eight league games under new boss Antonio Conte, the best unbeaten start for a Tottenham manager in the league. club’s league history.

However, sub-par performances in both legs of their League Cup semi-final loss to Chelsea over the past two weeks told Conte all he needed to know about the amount of work that remained to be done.

« There’s a big gap, a big difference, there’s a lot of work to be done to restore the situation, » Conte said of the quality chasm between Spurs and Chelsea after last week’s first leg defeat at Stamford Bridge. .

« If we think we’re close [to Chelsea] we are not on the right track. « 

Arsenal are in a similar situation to Spurs as their recent improvement under Mikel Arteta stuttered with a home loss to Manchester City before being knocked out of the FA Cup by second tier Nottingham Forest in the third round of the weekend. end last.

FALTERNG MANCHESTER UNITED

Seventh-placed Manchester United travel to Aston Villa on Saturday as they seek to turn the tide of their faltering season. Results have improved under caretaker manager Ralf Rangnick, but performances remain inconsistent.

United were lucky enough to overtake Villa in the FA Cup on Monday, with Cristiano Ronaldo issuing a rallying cry to his underperforming side this week.

« We know we’re not playing the best football, but we have a lot of games to improve, » he told Sky Sports. « I don’t want to be here to be sixth or seventh or fifth. I’m here. to try to win. « 

After a six-game winning streak in November and December, third-placed Liverpool – who trail City by 11 points but are one game behind – have failed to win in their last three league games before Brentford visit on Sunday.

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