Roberto Mancini has not had an enjoyable week after his team were thwarted by Ajax in the Champions League, although Tottenham were also in European action and could be counting the cost of a fixture backlog.
Meanwhile, Newcastle return from Belgium to host one of Alan Pardew’s former clubs, while Brendan Rodgers rested his entire first team for Thursday’s match against Anzhi and will hope that his Liverpool side can continue their fine recent record at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur 13:30
They might be the champions of England, although Manchester City can’t buy a win in Europe this season and Tuesday’s match against Ajax saw Mancini’s men held to a 2-2 draw which means their Champions League propsects are dangling by a thread.
The Citizens now return to the bread and butter of the Premier League, with the team having won four of their five matches at the Etihad Stadium although they’ll be wary of a side that won at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign and should really have claimed a draw in this fixture last season when Tottenham were still in title contention.
The bookies make City strong favourites at 8/13 (Paddy Power free bets) to claim a maximum haul to cheer up Mancini who may look to freshen up his side for this game, although it would be a surprise to see Carlos Tevez or Sergio Aguero relegated to the bench.
Aguero has not yet caught fire in a City shirt this season although that’s more to do with his team struggling for cohesion although the Argentine is a 9/2 chance to break the deadlock and might fancy his chances against a side that don’t keep many clean sheets.
Tottenham are sixth in the Premier League and actually seem more comfortable on the road, having won their last three away games including that 3-2 triumph against Manchester United where Andre Villas-Boas saw his team produce a lively attacking display.
Perhaps the time is ripe for Spurs to claim another win in Manchester and 5/1 seems quite a big price considering AVB could be tempted to continue with Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor in attack, while Clint Dempsey and Gareth Bale also possess lots of attacking menace.
Last season’s fixture ended in a 3-2 scoreline and City are 25/1 to win that way again, while a Spurs 3-2 win can be backed at 50/1.
Newcastle United v West Ham United
While Alan Pardew is being recognised for his efforts with Newcastle United since replacing Chris Hughton at St James’ Park, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the manager took West Ham to an FA Cup final a few seasons ago where they led 3-1 against Liverpool before losing on penalties.
Since then, the 51-year-old has had spells in charge of Charlton Athletic and Southampton before his reign with the Magpies and he now comes face-to-face with a West Ham side managed by someone who briefly managed Newcastle United.
Nobody will know what would have happened if Sam Allardyce had been given longer in charge of the team, although supporter impatience played a part in the manager leaving prematurely and how the Hammers boss would love to see his team win on Tyneside.
West Ham are a 3/1 chance (Blue Square) to win Sunday’s match and there will be some former Newcastle players lining up against their previous club including Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll who are sure to receive a mixed reception from the Toon Army.
It’s worth noting that Carroll hasn’t yet found the net for his latest club and perhaps this might happen this weekend, with bet365 going 7/1 about the Geordie returning to haunt his former club, while that man Nolan is a 9/1 chance.
Newcastle have not been fluent at home this season and just six goals have been scored in their five games, with Pardew resting most of his key players for that 2-2 draw in Bruges. Demba Ba is an ex-Hammer who will relish finding the net against his former club and the home side are even money for the win.
Chelsea v Liverpool 16:00
Chelsea are even money to beat Liverpool and those odds might not last until kick-off. Bet365 are being somewhat brave to quote this price considering there’s a real gulf in class between the two teams at the moment, with the Blues sitting second with 23 points and the Reds in twelfth place after accruing 11 points.
Roberto Di Matteo’s side were a touch fortunate to beat Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night although they won’t find Sunday’s opponents anywhere near as adventurous, with Juan Mata back in the team to pull the strings and Fernando Torres finally looking to produce a fine performance against his former club.
The Spaniard has seven goals this season although it hasn’t stopped him coming in for criticism and the forward is a 13/2 chance (Paddy Power) to score first against the Reds, while that man Mata is a 9/1 poke (Ladbrokes) and can prove to be a menace from set pieces.
As for Liverpool, they have only lost once on the road all season and that was at West Brom on the opening day, although Brendan Rodgers has seen his side collect just one Premier League win in six matches at Anfield and that doesn’t fill one with confidence ahead of this game.
What the Merseyside club do have is an excellent recent record at the Bridge, having won three of the last four away matches in the Premier League and they claimed two wins on this ground last season.
Liverpool can be backed at 3/1 to win the game and Luis Suarez could be the man to produce the magic for the Reds, with the Uruguayan likely to be a popular bet for First Goalscorer.