Second plays third at the Etihad Stadium this Sunday afternoon as Manchester City entertain Chelsea.
The hosts currently sit a whopping fifteen points behind league leaders Manchester United, after Sir Alex Ferguson’s men beat bottom of the table Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Saturday.
Roberto Mancini’s men go in to the game without a win in their last three league fixtures, having drawn back to back matches before defeat at Southampton the weekend before last.
Skipper Vincent Kompany looks set to miss a fifth game in succession as he struggles to shake off a calf injury, while Gareth Barry is also a doubt having sustained an ankle problem in last weekend’s FA Cup victory over Leeds United.
Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez are joint favourites to open the scoring, with a variety of firms offering a price of 7.0 (6/1), while David Silva is an 11.0 (10/1) shot with Stan James.
The visitors form has been inconsistent of late, having won three, drawn two and lost two of their last seven games.
They currently sit just four behinds behind Manchester City, though anything less than a win could give Tottenham Hotspur the opportunity to leapfrog them on Monday evening, when they face West Ham United.
Rafa Benitez is likely to name a much changed line-up from the one that drew with Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday, with Frank Lampard, Demba Ba, Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, David Luiz and Eden Hazard all set to return.
Ba is 8.0 (7/1) to get the first goal of the game, whilst Frank Lampard is 11.0 (10/1) to do so with what would be his 200th goal for the club.
The reverse fixture back in November finished goalless, though it was City who came out on top when the sides met in Manchester last season.
Chelsea had led with just over ten minutes to play, but late goals from Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri secured victory for the hosts.
Ladbrokes offer a price of 10.0 (9/1) for City to come from behind and take the three points this time around, while Paddy Power offer 1.91 (10/11) for the last goal to be scored after the 74th minute.
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