Paul Parker

City badly miss Tevez

Paul Parker

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MATCH OF
THE WEEKEND: Manchester City v Liverpool

It's
impossible to predict this one, considering how inconsistent both teams have
been this season.

City are
still struggling to convince a lot of people and despite the odd moment here
and there they have, on the whole, been rather average.

They
struggled in their two recent games against Stoke and should Carlos Tevez fail
to make it back for the Liverpool game, they could struggle again.

Tevez is by
far City's most important player and his absence, along with that of Craig Bellamy
- who may miss the game after a reported bust-up with Roberto Mancini - will be
keenly felt. City just don't look the same side without those two.

For
Liverpool, it is yet another big game. Rafa Benitez would have wanted a decent
performance from his side in their last outing ahead of such a big game, but he
did not get one in their Europa League clash with Unirea Urzicieni.

Liverpool
were awful at Anfield, yet they still managed to grind out a win. But City are
more capable than the Romanian side to punish a similar performance at
Eastlands.

That said,
dropped points this weekend will not be fatal to Liverpool's - or, for that
matter, City's - bid for that final Champions League spot. Far from it.
Considering the lack of consistency from any of the sides competing for fourth
place this season, it would be a blow both teams would be able to bounce back
from.

Liverpool
will probably play with two holding midfielders and hope someone like Dirk Kuyt
can nick something at the other end. It will be up to City to go out there and
attack the visitors, making for interesting viewing.

UPSET OF
THE WEEKEND: Wolves v Chelsea

Of course,
that inconsistency has been evident among the top clubs too and I just fancy
Wolves will be able to take advantage and get something from their game against
leaders Chelsea.

If Chelsea
can be beaten at Wigan, they can certainly fall to Wolves, who have taken
points off Everton, Villa, Spurs and Liverpool so far this season.

It's all
about the first goal - if it goes Chelsea's way, the writing could be on the
wall. But if Wolves enjoy a bit of the rub of the green early on, as they
sometimes have this season, there's a real chance Chelsea could come unstuck.

PLAYER
TO WATCH: Wayne Rooney

Rooney
continued his excellent form with a brace at the San Siro in midweek and he
travels to his former stomping ground at Everton full of confidence.

It is the
first time that he has returned to Goodison in such a rich vein of form and
whereas in previous visits he has been prone to losing his head, this time I
expect him to keep cool in the face of the taunts and let his feet do the
talking.

It will be
interesting to see how Rooney bears up against an Everton side that has been
doing well of late.

 The
Toffees' last league result - the victory over Chelsea - was a cracker and
United have always found it reasonably hard at Goodison. They usually have to
battle for anything there and Rooney will have to again be at his best if he is
to maintain his fine goalscoring form.

UNDER
PRESSURE: Steve Bruce

My old mate
Steve Bruce has seen his Sunderland side fall spectacularly after a decent
enough start to the season.

They now
head into the weekend just three points off the relegation zone and in real
danger of getting embroiled in an end-of-season relegation scrap.

Steve has
said he has had to virtually build a new team, such has been the extent of his
injury problems, but he started the season with a new team and they didn't seem
to have as many problems then.

Kenwyne
Jones has not helped matters by effectively downing tools amid talk of a move
to Liverpool, and Sunderland find themselves third bottom of the form table.

Steve has
got to be careful, considering what previously happened to Roy Keane on
Wearside, and his job could rapidly come under scrutiny if results do not pick
up soon.

Unfortunately,
a visit to Arsenal is not the ideal game for the Black Cats at the moment, and
it's difficult to see them adding to their points tally this weekend.

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