Monday was a night to forget for Manchester City, but as they look to bounce back at the weekend they’ll be pretty pleased with who their opponents are.
It was back in early November that City hammered Nowich 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium to record their biggest win of a season which has featured plenty such victories, and after being frustrated by Chelsea’s excellence on Monday night they’ll be more determined than ever to bounce back.
Manuel Pellegrini could throw the likes of Stevan Jovetic (£8.8m) and Jack Rodwell (£5.0m) into the action at Carrow Road, but he’ll be relying on a much more consistent performer to lead his team in Yaya Toure (£10.2m).
The Ivorian’s trademark bursts forward from midfield were one of the few high points of City’s first half against Chelsea. He almost teed up David Silva following one of his typical charges forward, whilst he also nearly got on the end of Aleksandar Kolarov’s fierce drive across the six yard box.
Had either of those chances gone in then things would certainly have been different for City on the night, but as they go to struggling Norwich they’ll at least head safe in the knowledge that they won’t be facing a tactical mastermind such as Jose Mourinho.
That isn’t meant as a slight on Chris Hughton of course, but you’d have to suspect that the visitors are going to win big at Carrow Road, with their Monday disappointment only adding to their desire for victory.
One of Toure’s 12 league strikes this season came in that 7-0 success over Norwich earlier in the campaign, and whilst they might not rack up the same huge amount of goals this time, you can trust City to win and Toure – the club’s penalty taker in the absence of Sergio Aguero – to be right at the heart of things.
Elsewhere this weekend, Merseyside faces North London as Liverpool host Arsenal and Everton go to Tottenham.
The Gunners’ impressive defence this season will face one of its sternest tests as they come up against Luis Suarez (£13.4m) and Daniel Sturridge (£9.7m), but if they can keep them quiet then you can expect Santi Cazorla (£9.6m) and the newly rejuvenated Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£6.7m) to make an impact going forward.
Everton’s Kevin Mirallas (£7.4m) will be the primary goal threat for his team at White Hart Lane after scoring three in his last four, but Spurs will be relying on Christian Eriksen (£7.4m) to be their main inspiration in a clash which could have a huge impact on who finishes in the Champions League.
Speaking of that competition, Manchester United will know that they’ll need to beat Fulham at home on Sunday to stand any real chance of catching up to the teams above them in that race.
A home televised game against the team bottom of the Premier League is surely the perfect chance for the Red Devils to bounce back and match some sort of impression of an functioning unit, and so whilst there will be plenty of Fantasy bosses trusting in Robin van Persie (£13.6m) and Wayne Rooney (£11.3m) against Fulham, this could be the game where we see Juan Mata (£9.7m) shine in a United shirt.
The Spanish star has made assists in both of his appearances for his new club since his January move from Chelsea, and against a Fulham outfit who are usually so woeful on the road he will surely have the chance to provide more.
However many points he racks up though he is unlikely to beat the current form displayed by Sunderland’s Adam Johnson (£6.9m), who has six goals and two assists in his last four games and will fancy more as his side host Hull.