Patrick Vieira has told his Manchester City team-mates to expect a backlash on Saturday as his side bid to prove their Barclays Premier League title credentials with victory at Old Trafford.
Manchester United are smarting from losing their unbeaten record at Wolves last weekend, but Vieira says that result will make the hosts more dangerous than ever as City aim to narrow the gap.
Vieira told Abu Dhabi newspaper The National: “We must expect a backlash and a battle. Big clubs like United always talk about the dangers of losing two games in a row. They will want to bounce back immediately.”
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is likely to give new signing Shefki Kuqi a role as his side aim to maintain the momentum of their extraordinary comeback against Arsenal when they travel to Blackburn.
Kuqi was picked up after being released by Swansea this week as a short-term replacement for the departed Andy Carroll, and Pardew is set to start with Kuqi on the bench.
Pardew said: “I know from experience that sometimes giving a player a chance at a club of this magnitude can sometimes take them up a level, and that’s what I hope happens with Shefki.”
Meanwhile Rovers are bidding to get back to winning ways after their defeat at Wigan last weekend. Rovers admitted this week they had failed in their bid to lure Brazil World Cup star Luis Fabiano to Ewood Park.
Roberto Martinez takes his Wigan side to Anfield in buoyant mood after their win over Rovers and believes the safety net for staying in the top flight this season could be as high as 40 points.
Martinez said: “I feel a lot more points will be needed than last season. If you look at the bottom eight teams they are all doing good things. You feel they can take points off each other.”
Wolves go to the Emirates Stadium seeking another high-profile scalp after their win over United, and defender Ronald Zubar insists there is no reason why history cannot repeat itself.
“We’ve just beaten Manchester United and we can go to the Emirates and try to get another positive result,” said Zubar. “But it is never easy against Arsenal because they can score at any moment.”
Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham look to stay in Champions League contention when they travel to Sunderland, who are still smarting from their 3-2 defeat to Stoke at the Britannia Stadium last weekend.
Meanwhile, Tony Pulis’ men travel to Birmingham with memories of last week’s win soured by the news that striker Mamady Sidibe faces another spell on the sidelines after suffering another injury in training.
Sliding Blackpool get the chance to put things right against Aston Villa at Bloomfield Road, while West Brom will have caretaker-boss Michael Appleton in charge for the visit of West Ham.
In the only Sunday game, Owen Coyle’s Bolton get the chance to bounce back after last week’s defeat at Spurs when they host Everton at the Reebok Stadium.