Who: Chelsea FC vs. Manchester City FC
What: International friendly
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York (Bronx), New York, USA
When: Saturday, May 25, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Time: 21:30 GMT/5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT
TV: Fox Soccer Channel, FOX Deportes (US), ESPN UK / HD (UK)
Worldwide TV Coverage: LiveSoccerTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM SIRI channel 94 (Internet 94)
Odds: Chelsea +155, Manchester City +150, Draw +265
Source: LVH SuperBook (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)
Chelsea and Manchester City wrap up their two-game, end-of-season international friendly series on Saturday when the two English Premier League giants meet in Yankee Stadium in New York City.
By the time the match starts, Chelsea will no longer be able to say it's both the reigning UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League trophy holders with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund playing for the former honor at London's Wembley Stadium (CL final preview link) earlier in the day (FOX, 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT).
As was obvious in City's 4-3 come-from-behind win in St. Louis on Thursday, club friendlies like these are usually high-scoring affairs, with neither side really caring about getting the win or having to try to earn the three points.
Many players coming up in clubs' systems get a chance to play in matches like these and these games give managers and management a chance to see how these guys fare on the big stage.
The Blues led 3-0 in the second half when outgoing interim manager Rafael Benítez replaced goalkeeper Petr Čech with Jamal Blackman, and the 19-year-old quickly allowed a goal before you could even say "Roman Abramovich is a mad Russian oligarch," making Chelsea fans happy to remember they have Thibaut Courtois waiting in the wings on loan at Atlético de Madrid.
With the win, the Sky Blues improved to 4-1-0 against the Europa League champions in their five meetings this year and from a wagering standpoint, taking City at +150 here in Gotham City seems like the logical thing to do, even if you're a Chelsea fan.
The big news in the City camp this week actually came out on Tuesday when Major League Soccer announced that the Sky Blues are actually teaming up with the Yankees—who will be minority owners—to create Major League Soccer's 20th franchise, called New York City FC or NYC FC.
The new club will begin play in 2015.
As far as Saturday's game in The House That Ruth Built—aptly nicknamed for famed Yankees slugger Babe Ruth for those who may not know—Chelsea fans should expect to see Frank Lampard play, as the Blues vice-captain did not get in on Thursday.
Two Chelsea youngsters who really impressed with their play in that game were César Azpilicueta, who played the right wing and converted on a penalty kick, and central midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who should one day make the club's first team.
Despite the deceiving scoreline, City absolutely dominated Chelsea in the Gateway City and had Čech not been in goal for so long, the Blues could have been thoroughly embarrassed, even if it was just a completely meaningless friendly.
And whereas an NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings in London's Wembley Stadium—the two teams will meet there on Sept. 29—may not spark the kind of interest on of this side of the pond as one would think, these international friendlies that are held stateside with clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, City and Real Madrid really show how many hidden and intelligent soccer fans dwell in the United States.
As mentioned, from a betting point of view, taking City with the healthy plus (+150) seems pretty wise, and although not offered at the LVH SuperBook here in Sin City, seeking out a total at a European or offshore sportsbook and playing the over is also a very strong angle.
Whatever happens, both clubs will definitely be glad their grueling schedules have finally come to an end and that they can finally get some much-needed offseason rest.
PREDICTION: Manchester City 4, Chelsea 2
BET: Manchester City +150
Follow me on Twitter: @KevinStott11.
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