The midweek round of Premier League fixtures kicks off on Tuesday night, with the Manchester derby topping the bill. Rivals City and United have had contrasting fortunes this season with Sir Alex Ferguson proving a predictably difficult act to follow for David Moyes in his first campaign at Old Trafford. These are different times for the Manchester clubs, though, with City now a real force; they have won four - and drew the other - of their last five Premier League meetings with United, and with United having lost as many home league games this term (5) as they had done in their previous three seasons combined, Manuel Pellegrini's men will be confident of victory.
The main strikers will be missing for both teams, with both Sergio Agüero and Robin van Persie absent through injury, so there will be greater onus on Wayne Rooney to perform. He scored a fantastic halfway-line volley at the weekend, and with 5 goals in his last 5 appearances against the Citizens could play a crucial role.
Everton travel to St James' Park to face Newcastle as they continue their charge towards the 4th-placed finish they so crave. Entertainment should be guaranteed with at least 3 goals having been scored in each of the last 6 meetings between the sides and both teams having netted in every one of those games. Only 1 of those matches has been decided by more than a single goal, so this could be another tight affair.
Arsenal and Swansea meet for the first time in 2014 having faced off four times over the course of 2013. The Swans failed to win any of those matches, drawing the first but Arsenal have won the last 3 with late drama a common theme. 8 of the 12 goals scored in the sides' last 5 meetings were scored in the final 10 minutes of those games, with a late winning or equalising goal netted in three games. Swansea are fighting relegation whilst Arsenal are still harbouring title hopes so there is all to play for here.
West Ham's inconsistencies remain despite their recent 4 match winning streak. That run was their best in the Premier League since the final games of the 2006/07 season, but they have followed that up with their worst losing streak in the competition since April/May 2011, losing their last 3 matches, in the process being dragged back towards a relegation battle. Opponents this week, Hull, have won their last 2 away games after winning none of their previous 9, so the outcome of this one is anybody's guess.
A Luis Suarez blank is more surprising these days than a hat-trick and were he to fail to net against Sunderland on Wednesday night it would be a real shock. He now has 28 goals in 25 Premier League appearances for the season - having scored 16 in 11 at home - and with 7 goals in his last 6 matches against the Black Cats, there is every chance he'll add to those tallies.
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