Matchday 16 of the Premier League brings exciting fixtures as the Manchester clubs seek to leave the rest behind while City hope that Alex Ferguson’s side slips up a few times along the way.
Due to Chelsea’s involvement in the Club World Cup, their fixture against Southampton has been postponed and a revised date will shortly be announced.
Here is the complete fixture list for this weekend, followed by betting previews of some of the major games:
Newcastle United v Manchester City
Roberto Mancini will be keen for his side to respond positively to their first home Premier League defeat in two years last weekend, and everything suggest they will do just that.
The title holders have not lost back-to-back league games since October 2010, and you have to go back to 2005 to discover the last time they lost to the Magpies.
They are also are unbeaten in their last 10 league away games (W6 D4 L0), and have conceded just six goals and kept five clean sheets in that run.
Carlos Tevez has netted four goals in six Premier League games against the Magpies, and makes plenty of appeal at 5.5 with Paddy Power to net the opener.
The Argentinian can also be backed at 2.2 with Paddy Power in the anytime scorer market, and that also looks a bit of value given that he is as short as 1.91 to do so elsewhere.
City won the corresponding fixture back in May 2-0, and a repeat of that scoreline makes plenty appeal at 8 with bet365.
Manchester United v Sunderland
Manchester United are a top priced 1.22 with bet365 and Boylesports to beat Sunderland at Old Trafford (3pm KO, Live on Setanta Sports 1), and are fully expected to register a wide margin victory over the Black Cats.
The Red Devils come into the game six points clear at the top of the table following their dramatic last gasp 3-2 win over arch rivals man City last weekend.
As far as the stats are concerned Sir Alex’s side have won 15 and lost none of the last 20 Premier League meetings with Sunderland.
They have also lost just one of their last 16 Premier League games at Old Trafford, and face a side who despite beating Reading 3-0 last time out have been very poor this season and lack any real cutting edge.
Martin O’Neill’s side have also won just one of their last 15 league away games (W1 D7 L7) on the road and have failed to score in nine of their last 11 league games against United – including the last five in a row.
That makes United to win to nil look well worth a punt at 1.91 with bet365.
Robin van Persie has scored seven goals in nine appearances against Sunderland in all competitions and five times in seven games in the English Premier League.
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Liverpool look worthy odds-on shot at 1.4 with Betfred to take care of Aston Villa at Anfield.
The Reds go into the game having registered wins on the bounce for the first time in over a year and did really well last time up at West Ham when coming from behind to triumph 3-2 despite being without Luis Suarez.
The stats are also good as far as Brendan Rodgers’ men are concerned as Villa have won just one of their last 10 Premier League trips to Anfield (W1 D3 L6).
The Villans have also won just one of their last 16 league away matches (W1 D6 L9) – scoring just seven goals in that run.
That suggests that Liverpool should be bale to register a comfortable success, especially with Suarez returning after his suspension.
Steven Gerrard has scored nine goals against Aston Villa – more than versus any other opponent in his Premier League career – and makes plenty of each-way appeal a tempting 8 with Paddy Power in the first goalscorer market.
Another bet that stands out is for Liverpool to win to nil at 2.1 with bet365 as they have kept four clean sheets in their last five league matches on their own patch.
Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City
Tottenham face a tough home game against Swansea but look worth a punt at 1.62 with bet365 to come out on top.
The visitors have been a revelation this season and come into the game in 8th place – just three points behind the Lilywhites.
The Welsh side have also won three of their last five Premier League games in London, including last time out at Arsenal, so clearly should not be underestimated
However the stats are good as far as Spurs are concerned, as they have won 12 and lost none of their 14 league meetings at home against the Swans.
They had also been in good form and won their last 4 games in all competitions before going down 2-1 to Everton after throwing away a lead late on, and should be capable of bouncing back to winning ways in this if able to defend better.
Indeed, if games had lasted 80 minutes this season then Spurs would be top of the table, so it’s vital that they start tightening things up and closing out games once getting a lead.
In the first goalscorer market Jermaine Defoe looks decent value at the 5.5 on offer with Paddy Power.
One worrying aspect as far as Andre Villas-Boas’ side are concerned is that they have kept just one clean sheet in eight league games under him at White Hart Lane.
They have also conceded a total of 25 games in the opening 16 games, so both teams to score looks a decent shout at 1.67 with Betfred.