This weekend in the Premier League
1. Can Manchester City further close the gap on United?
|AS IT STANDS
1. Man Utd
2. Man City
A goal apiece from Antonio Valencia and Robin van Persie saved United's blushes at Upton Park as they struggled for long periods to replicate the form which has put them within touching distance of a record-breaking 20th league crown.
This weekend's opponents are Aston Villa with Paul Lambert's side improving drastically of late - right at the perfect time.
|BET OF THE WEEKEND
|Jim Knight, Goal.com Betting Editor
Back-to-back wins away from home will give Paul Lambert's side confidence that they can escape relegation this season but a trip to Manchester United could be a tough assignment for the visitors to profit from.
Goals have been a feature of Villa's games of late and the likes of Christian Benteke and Charles N'Zogbia mean they will still pose a threat to the United backline.
The match result and over 2.5 goals market offer little value here because of the short prices available but one bet that does appeal is Aston Villa to score at least one goal. Lambert's side have rallied of late and in their last 11 Premier League matches they have only failed to score once. United's trip to Upton Park shows that their defence can be breached and odds of 7/10 (1.7) from William Hill on Villa registering at least one goal look fair enough.
Chicharito will be looking to start against Villa after goalless displays against Stoke and West Ham and recent complaints about his reduced minutes on the pitch. The Mexico striker started 18 games last season, and has been afforded just seven this year.
"I have to respect the club, Manchester United. But of course I want to start more," Chicharito was quoted as saying. "It is frustrating. All the players in the world want to start every single game, every week."
City, meanwhile, prepare to face fifth-placed Tottenham - who will be gunning to take advantage of Arsenal's 0-0 draw with Everton on Tuesday. A win for City over a team they have not failed to beat since 2010 and won 5-1 in the same fixture last term will have a large impact on the race for a top-four spot.
Sergio Aguero, though, is a big doubt for the game after feeling his hamstring "tighten up a bit" against Wigan - and was withdrawn at half-time.
"He has got a problem, but it was a slight problem," first-team coach David Platt told reporters. "It was more of a precaution than anything else. Just the sheer proximity of the game on Sunday would say he is a doubt."
Luckily, fellow Argentine Carlos Tevez has been in fine form of late, including netting the winner on Wednesday night, and is expected to deputise in north London.