THE WEEKEND: Manchester derby
first time for a long time, this game isn't just about Manchester United - it's
still important for United as they try to claw their way back into the title
race, but City too have something to gain from victory, other than mere
pressing for a fourth-place finish and victory against United will see them
take a huge step towards making all that summer investment worthwhile. They're
going to be massively up for it.
the game should be about City's resurgence as a real contender and a rival to
United, inevitably all the personal issues surrounding the two clubs will also
creep in, not least the Gary Neville-Carlos Tevez spat.
reportedly given the pair of them a warning not to incite any trouble, but if I
were Sir Alex, I would avoid the whole issue by not even playing Neville. He
can be a disruptive influence and considering that the first thing an away team
must do in a volatile atmosphere is keep the crowd quiet, Neville's presence on
the pitch cannot be of help.
It's a huge
game when you consider there is a Premier league title and a place in Europe's
top club competition at stake and the atmosphere at Eastlands is sure to
reflect that. It should be a cracker.
TO WATCH: Carlos Tevez
made Manchester City this season and they've missed him when he hasn't played.
He fully deserves his nomination for Player of the Year and if anyone can
change the course of this game, it is him.
may have had a point to prove in the first couple of meetings between the two
sides this season, that is no longer the case. But even so, I expect a
typically bustling performance from him - after all, it doesn't matter if he's
playing Arsenal, Accrington or Aldershot, he will always put in 100 per cent.
He has been
brilliant for City since his move across town, but he is not a better player
now than when he was at Old Trafford. He's always been that good, he just
wasn't given enough starts at United to prove it.
United have missed him coming off the bench for them this season and his work
ethic has been conspicuous by its absence, especially when Wayne Rooney has
will be another chance for him to remind his former fans just what they're
missing out on. Don't bet against him getting on the scoresheet again.
THE WEEKEND: Tottenham v Chelsea
have a great record against Tottenham, so United should not rely on them
getting a result at White Hart Lane.
following Wednesday's victory over Arsenal, Spurs will now believe they can
shake off their Chelsea hoodoo too.
will have taken a great deal out of the Spurs players, but once they come out
onto the pitch, that tiredness should instantly disappear. Big games do that to
players, and the fatigue is mentally driven out from their limbs.
are doing at the moment is what they have been working towards for a long time
- playing big games week in, week out. That's what being a top club is all
about and the players should thrive off it, rather than be fatigued by it.
the quality of Chelsea's midfield, the game will be won and lost in that part
of the pitch. Spurs need to be physically strong and capable of standing up to
the Chelsea middle men if they are to win the game.
stand a chance if Jermain Defoe can exploit John Terry's sluggishness in a
vulnerable Chelsea back line. Terry doesn't like players on his shoulder and he
is liable to dive in on someone with a bit of pace who is running at him. Defoe
is just that player and his guile may prove decisive.
PRESSURE: Iain Dowie
City manager had given hope to his team after their win over Fulham, but two
games and two defeats later it looks like the Tigers are going down.
problem has been two-fold. Firstly, he has been given just nine games to save
Hull from the drop. That is simply not long enough.
they have lost games against fellow relegation candidates, the teams they
should be beating if they are stay in the top flight. First came defeat to
Portsmouth and then came the Burnley thumping.
defeat and that could be that for Hull - if that comes during a tricky-looking
trip to Birmingham on Saturday, it will be extremely difficult for the players
to believe anything other than that they're doomed.