Chelsea in 'title-winning form', says Pat Nevin

ALEX YOUNG

Pat Nevin feels Chelsea are showing Premier League "title-winning form" and sees reasons to be optimistic as cracks start to show in Manchester City.

The reigning champions dropped just three points in December but remain 14 points behind Pep Guardiola's runaway title favourites in their bid to retain the crown won in record-breaking fashion last season.

City are unbeaten after 21 games but came within an injury-time penalty save from losing to relegation-threatened Crystal Palace last time out and Nevin is confident the Premier League pacesetters are starting to slow down.

READ MORE: Conte urges action over Premier League fixture complaints

READ MORE: Costa raring to go at Atletico Madrid

READ MORE: Conte’s men cruise past under-strength Potters

"It is a long shot of course, but I would say one thing, if City and Chelsea were on the same points tally right at this moment, I think I would put us as slight favourites going forward," he wrote in his column for the club's official website.

"Yes I know it sounds odd because of City’s current run, but the cracks are just beginning to show with Pep’s men. With David Silva missing recently, a large part of the creativity is expected to come from the fabulous Kevin De Bruyne, but there have been a few tired looking (but still very good) performances by him of late and of course he is now nursing an injury.

"They found Newcastle very difficult to break down and Palace impossible to score against, so if someone could go on an extraordinary unbeaten run, then the pressure might just start to tell, particularly as Champions League stresses will add to the mix.

"It is a long shot but it would be fabulous if Chelsea could carry on this fantastic run of form and exert at least some pressure.

"Currently it is 32 points out of the last 39 for our lads and most seasons that would be league-winning form.

"We know from last season that Chelsea can continue these long runs of unbeaten and even winning streaks and if we do, then I would like to see how City react."