Important for Man City not to let Chelsea defeat affect them

You wonder how much damage to Manchester City’s confidence has been done by Chelsea’s win at the Etihad last Monday. Will Manuel Pallegrini’s men look upon it as a minor stumble on the way to a Premier League title (evens with Coral) or will they now be haunted by doubts?

City (3/10) visit Norwich (9/1) on Saturday and it is a match they should win comfortably on paper, but these were the type of games they were having trouble with earlier in the season before they went on their long and impressive free-scoring run.

So it will be fascinating to see whether they can quickly put that home defeat out of their minds or whether the jitters have returned. Arsenal and Chelsea will be watching with interest.

Chelsea (1/4) entertain Newcastle (11/1) and could hardly have picked a better time to be playing the Magpies following the loss of their star man Johan Cabaye and the humiliating 3-0 home derby defeat to Sunderland.

Newcastle have less to motivate them than most in the Premier League, being neither candidates for Europe or relegation, but it could still turn very depressing for their fans if they start to drift down the table.

Sunderland (evens), in contrast, are very much on the up and will fancy their chances of climbing into mid-table by beating Hull (11/4) at the Stadium of Light this weekend.

Rock bottom of the pile just a few weeks ago and now 14th, it has been an impressive recovery by the Black Cats, but they are still very much in the relegation mix, just two points above the bottom three.

And even while turning things around, Sunderland have been making hard work of it in front of their own fans and I have a feeling they might come unstuck against a Hull side which have been playing quite well recently without getting the rub of the green.

Crystal Palace (7/5) are another club to have scrambled out of the bottom three after being written off as relegation certainties and Tony Pulis will be looking to for his players to continue the good work at home to fellow strugglers West Brom (15/8), one place above them in the table, also on 23 points.

Both sides have been showing great spirit in recent games, even in losing causes, and we can expect a good battle at Selhurst Park, perhaps ending honours even (23/10).

Southampton (8/15) look back to something like their best and may stop Stoke in their tracks after their win over Man United last weekend, while Aston Villa v West Ham very much has the look of a draw (5/2) about it.