BPL This Weekend: Manchester derby day, Newcastle improving, more

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By MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

It’s derby day once more in Manchester.

Manchester City will look to continue their recent dominance against their bitter rivals Manchester United. City have won five of the last six derbies and can make it four in a row with a win at the Etihad.

It hasn’t been a good recent string of games for City in either the Premier League or knockout competitions, but there will be no doubt they will be up for this one.

United may have missed out on facing Diego Costa when they met Chelsea last weekend, but they will have no such reprieve this weekend. Sergio Aguero could wreak havoc on a backline that’s been inconsistent at best. City will be without David Silva, but will hope Yaya Toure will be available.

The Red Devils showed some grit coming back to draw Chelsea last week and they will need that similar fight. Angel Di Maria has played very well so far and he will need to once again combine well with Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney to keep City on their heels a bit.

If the home side is allowed the rub of the green, they have plenty of talent, even with a few missing, to pull United apart.

What To Look For

1. Rising Newcastle– There was a darkness over Newcastle to start the season. Calls for Alan Pardew‘s head abounded.

However, the light is starting to shine on Tyneside.

They’re unbeaten and three, won the last two and the most recent victory was against a good Tottenham side.

Next up the Magpies play host to Liverpool. While the Reds have gotten good results in the Premier League so far, they still seem in a state of flux. They need Mario Balotelli to get off the mark to ease some of the tension as well as starting to concede less goals.

Pardew may once again rely on some of the young talent at the club. Sammy Ameobi scored his first Premier League goal a weekend ago and Ayoze Perez, who scored a goal against Spurs as well.

2. Pelle power– There is no mistaking that Southampton is a quality team. It’s no longer about who left in the summer, but who is in the squad.

The catalyst for the Saints’ consistent stay in the Top Four to this point – yes, there is plenty more games to play – has been Graziano Pelle. He’s already found the back of the net six times in nine games.

Even when he isn’t on the score sheet, he has continually been dangerous in the final third for Southampton. He has combined well with fellow new signing Dusan Tadic.

The Saints will need Pelle to continue on his strong run of form against a Hull City side that has drawn two in a row. With the potential of goals in the Southampton squad, Hull may decide to bunker down and try to hit on the counter.

Along with Tadic, Pelle will need to be the reason the Tigers are forced to be drawn out of their shape.

3. Aston Villa tumbling- Things started so well for Aston Villa. They were just coming off of a 1-0 win against Liverpool as well.

However, since then it’s been a nightmare and the Villains are tumbling down the table.

The win at Anfield has been significant in two ways for Villa. it was the last time they’ve won with five losses in a row. It also was the last time they’ve scored a goal in that same span.

The schedule isn’t looking any easier either.Tottenham, West Ham and Southampton are their next three fixtures.

However, if Villa can return to the score sheet against Spurs this weekend, confidence may very well creep back in and positive results could follow soon thereafter.

4. Berahino the great– There is a bit of magic in the Midlands and its emanating from West Bromwich Albion. It seems everything Saido Berahino touches turns into goals. Well, it seems that way.

Over the last two weekends, he’ s earned back-to-back draws for the Baggies. He’s currently tallied seven times in nine games.

With the way he’s playing, Berahino is one of the brightest young talents in the league and there is no reason to think he won’t continue to do so.

He’s quick, good on the ball and he has a nose for goal. More importantly, he has a nose for the goal in crucial scenarios.

While the wins haven’t necessarily flowed, on the back of Berahino’s play they may very well soon. In the meantime, he will keep helping the Baggies to points, even if they are in one point increments.