Premier League preview
Tottenham have the chance to bounce back from their derby defeat against Manchester United this weekend in the Premier League.
Last Updated: 03/03/12 9:31am
After a humbling defeat to rivals Arsenal last week, Tottenham face another tough task against Manchester United in the Premier League.
The champions may have earned a last-gasp victory at Norwich, but a wounded Spurs at White Hart Lane will be a different prospect altogether.
Manchester City will be hoping United slip up as they look to extend their lead at the top with a win over Bolton, while Carling Cup winners Liverpool host Arsenal in Saturday's early kick-off.
Elsewhere, Newcastle play Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby while struggling Blackburn and Aston Villa battle for much-needed points at Ewood Park.
Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs rolled back the years last weekend as Manchester United overcame Norwich thanks to an injury-time winner from the Welshman, leaving them two points adrift of City at the summit. With their rivals expected to dispatch of Bolton on Saturday, United could be trailing the leaders by five points come kick-off against Tottenham on Sunday afternoon. Spurs will be looking to restore pride following their defeat at Arsenal, although they are still well placed in third. With both teams looking for the victory, this could be an enthralling encounter in North London - watch all the action live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 4.10pm.
Liverpool have been basking in glory after a penalty shootout success over Cardiff in their first Wembley visit since 1996. It is back to league duty on Saturday lunchtime though, when Arsenal go to Anfield for a game live on Sky Sports 2 HD from 12.45pm. Both teams will be in high spirits following their victories last weekend but with a top four place up for grabs this season, there is no time to dwell on previous performances. Liverpool currently trail the Gunners by seven points and have a game in hand over the Londoners - a win here would rekindle hopes of qualification for next year's UEFA Champions League.
A home fixture against Bolton is one Manchester City will be expected to win as they look to consolidate their position at the top of the table. City have won five successive matches in all competitions - an ominous statistic for Bolton whose form is poor. Owen Coyle's men have only managed one point from a possible 12 and a second-half collapse at Chelsea last weekend leaves them second bottom. However, a shock win at Eastlands could see Wanderers rise to 16th in the division, with just two points separating the bottom five. Carlos Tevez featured in a behind-closed-doors game in midweek but is unlikely to play on Saturday, with top scorer Sergio Aguero set to keep his place in the starting XI.
Local bragging rights will be at stake in the North East on Sunday when Newcastle and Sunderland contest the Tyne-Wear derby at St James' Park. The same fixture last season saw the Magpies run out 5-1 winners, while Alan Pardew's charges overcame Sunderland, then managed by Steve Bruce, 1-0 back in August thanks to Ryan Taylor's thunderbolt. The Black Cats are due a result against their rivals, having not beaten them since 2008. With Martin O'Neill at the helm they have belief back in the ranks and will be looking to bounce back from last weekend's 4-0 capitulation at West Brom - a rare poor display during O'Neill's reign.
Aston Villa are experiencing challenges off and on the pitch. The team have picked up just two points from a possible 12 in the Premier League and the club announced losses of £53.9m for the financial year 2010-11. Alex McLeish continues to frustrate a section of supporters with his tactics and with the side currently 15th in the table, they are in danger of slipping into the relegation dogfight. Blackburn Rovers are their opponents and Steve Kean's men will surely be more expansive than they were during the 3-0 defeat at Manchester City. Another protest against Kean's management will precede Saturday's match.
Wolves fought back from two goals down to earn a point at Newcastle last time out in Terry Connor's first game as manager. It was a positive start for Connor but plenty of work remains as the Black Country outfit are only one point above the relegation zone with 12 games remaining this term. A win at Fulham on Sunday would go some way to easing the pressure but that is no easy task with the Cottagers in decent form and difficult to beat on home soil. Three points for Martin Jol and co and they could move into eighth by the end of the weekend and they come into the game on the back of successive victories. Watch this one live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 2.05pm.
Despite their 3-0 triumph last weekend the pressure still remains on Andre Villas-Boas ahead of Chelsea's clash with West Brom. The manager admitted to a Portuguese radio station last week that he would not be surprised if Roman Abramovich wielded the axe, stating: "Let's see if he wants a change in the club or not." Many believe Villas-Boas is on borrowed time at Stamford Bridge and with the club battling for fourth place in the Premier League, defeat at the Hawthorns may spell the end of his reign. Albion produced an emphatic display to dispatch of Sunderland and with Peter Odemwingie in form they are dangerous opponents.
Wigan were the dominant side during their goalless stalemate with Aston Villa but failed to capitalise and remain rooted to the bottom of the table. However, a win at home to Swansea could see the Latics climb out of the bottom three into 16th. Roberto Martinez's side are unbeaten in their last three matches but need to begin picking up wins if they are going to escape the drop for another year. Martinez welcomes his former club to the DW Stadium with Brendan Rodgers' Swans in stuttering form. They have lost back-to-back matches and will be looking to get back to winning ways.
Mark Hughes' frustration was clear to see following QPR's defeat to Fulham, and with the West Londoners having lost three on the bounce, they begin to find themselves in a precarious position. Rangers are in danger of slipping back into the Championship after just one season in the top-flight if results do not improve, with Hughes' men in 17th - just one point ahead of bottom club Wigan. This weekend Everton make the journey to Loftus Road and are full of confidence. The Toffees are in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and have enjoyed recent victories over Chelsea and Manchester City.
Finally, Norwich City go to the Britannia Stadium where Stoke lie in wait. The Canaries were seconds away from securing a draw against Manchester United but despite the late heartbreak, they remain eighth in the table following a fantastic return to the Premier League. Grant Holt is the man in form for Paul Lambert's men and will relish the physical challenge that Stoke pose. The Potters had been stuttering before last weekend's victory over Swansea and will want to use that success as a platform to build on.