Negredo set to fire
Sky Sports Fantasy Football's Pete Hall picks Alvaro Negredo as the man to deliver you some welcome points.
By Pete Hall - @Pistolpeteh86
Last Updated: 10/01/14 12:07pm
In the absence of talisman Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo has taken on the goalscoring mantle with aplomb and is primed to take the Sky Sports Fantasy Football captaincy this weekend.
With third-top Fantasy Football points scorer Aguero (125) on the sidelines, the pessimists out there were sure City would fall off the pace and struggle in the Argentine's absence.
However, Negredo, who has 82 points to his name already, has formed a formidable partnership with Edin Dzeko, which was evident in City's 6-0 rout of West Ham United in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg, with Negredo bagging himself a hat-trick.
At £8.6m, Negredo is cheaper than all three Chelsea strikers, who combined have less league goals than the Spaniard, and is likely to be charged with spearheading another onslaught against Newcastle United on Saturday.
Averaging 2.7 goals per game in the previous 11 meetings between the two sides, a run which has seen the Magpies lose the last eight, Pellegrini will be confident his side can continue their resurgence away from the Etihad.
And to supply those chances Negredo thrives upon, fellow countryman Jesus Navas (£7.6m) will be keen to continue his good form. With only Wayne Rooney (11), Mesut Ozil (eight) and Eden Hazard (seven) having more league assists than the tricky winger, Navas seems to have adjusted to life in England, and finding his touch sooner than many thought.
City are odds-on in the Sky Bet match market to make it three wins in a row on the road, but a vastly improved Newcastle will be hoping to cause somewhat of an upset.
Manchester rivals United are in all sorts of disarray at the moment, but the imminent return of Rooney (£9.6m) could spark the Red Devils into life.
The England striker faces a late fitness test ahead of the vital home clash with Swansea on Saturday, and with nine goals as well as his impressive assist return, if he plays, Rooney will have a big say as to whether United can get back on track.
Wilfried Bony (£8m), who netted the winner against United last week, now has back-to-back goals against David Moyes' men, and is capable of piling further misery on the beleaguered manager.
Elsewhere, Fulham welcome Sunderland to Craven Cottage, with the reportedly unsettled Dimitar Berbatov (£8.6m) in fine form. The enigmatic Bulgarian has now notched in each of his last three league games, and with basement boys Sunderland the visitors, the hitman will fancy his chances of continuing that run.
With 22 points last time out, Chelsea's Oscar (£7.6m) will be targeting Saturday's opponent's Hull City, and will be looking to add to his goal and two assists at Southampton on New Year's Day.
Defensively, Cardiff will be hoping to shut out a hapless West Ham, who will still be reeling from shipping 11 goals in the space of a week, without engineering anything in attack.
Cardiff almost kept out table-toppers Arsenal last time out, and new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will set up his team as solidly as possible to ensure he gets off to a winning league start.
Star-performer Steven Caulker has featured in every Cardiff match this season and, with 54 points already, will be a key factor in keeping the Hammers at bay.
Also, with a woeful home record, scoring only seven goals on their own patch all season, Aston Villa will have to be at their best to breach Arsenal's rearguard on Monday night.
However, the omens are not good. The Gunners are unbeaten on their last 14 visits to Villa Park - their longest unbeaten run against any side in Premier League history, and simply getting on the scoresheet will be a tough task alone for Villa.