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Premier League Leaders Manchester City And Manchester United Will Have
By Yvinne Atkinson | January 30, 2012 | 3:29 pm

Categories: City, Cup, League

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A week on, Liverpool’s manager finds himself in the final of the Carling Cup after beating Manchester City and in the last 16 of the FA Cup, having knocked out their greatest rivals Manchester United at Anfield.

City, three points clear at the top of the table, travel to Everton while second-placed champions United are at home to Stoke.

Table-toppers City will again be without striker Mario Balotelli as the forward continues his four-game ban for stamping on Tottenham’s Scott Parker.

Nevertheless, up front remains a problem area for City, with Tevez’s personal “strike” now in its 11th week and Mario Balotelli serving the second of a four-match suspension at Goodison Park.

“we do not agree with this decision, but we can do nothing,” said City manager Roberto Mancini.

City have only managed one victory at Goodison Park since 1992 but Everton, hampered by injuries, are set to be without first-choice central defenders Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin, along with Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Seamus Coleman.

United goalkeeper David de Gea struggled with crosses and corners in the 2-1 loss to Liverpool and Stoke, renowned for their physical presence at set-pieces, are sure to test the Spaniard.

But United manager Sir Alex Ferguson tried to shield de Gea from criticism after the Liverpool match by saying: “Our own players created a problem for the first goal They didn’t give him enough room to deal with it.

.”Spurs aim to stay in touch
Third-placed Tottenham Hotspur, despite manager Harry Redknapp spending much of last week in court on tax evasion charges, still got through to the last 16 of the FA Cup after beating Watford. Tuesday sees Spurs, eight points behind City, look to stay in the title race at home to bottom of the table Wigan.The transfer window also closes on Tuesday but Redknapp said he did not expect to add to his impressive squad before the deadline is up. “we can’t see an awful lot (happening),” said Redknapp.Legal action of a different kind will also be on the minds of many Chelsea fans when their side travels to Wigan on Tuesday – just a day before skipper John Terry is due to appear in court on charges of racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand – an allegation the England captain denies.Both Terry and Ferdinand were involved in Chelsea’s 1-0 FA Cup win over QPR on Saturday – the first time the two players had faced each other since the allegations surfaced.On the field, fourth-placed Chelsea will want to strengthen their grip on a Champions League place against a promoted Swansea side who have been one of the success stories of this Premier League season so far. “It’s important to try and reach the top and go to Swansea fully motivated,” said Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas.Liverpool, five points behind Chelsea, may be in one Wembley final (the League Cup) and closing in on another, but forcing their way into the top four remains a key ambition for the Merseysiders ahead of their trip to second-bottom Wolves on Tuesday.Their cup wins came after a dispiriting league defeat by lowly Bolton and Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt, who scored the winner against United, said: “Everyone was really disappointed about the Bolton game.

This year the Cup final is scheduled for 5 May – the penultimate weekend of the top-flight season – as are 10 Premier League matches, including Chelsea’s visit to Liverpool and Newcastle’s home game against Manchester City, and 24 matches in Leagues One and Two.

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