City fancied to boost their morale

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Newcastle and Manchester City are both in need of a pick-me-up as they prepare to lock horns at St James’ Park.

The Magpies have lost five and won just one of their last seven league encounters whereas City’s unbeaten record went on Sunday as they were edged out by bitter rivals Manchester United in a pulsating contest at the Etihad Stadium.

It’s the champions, however, that are expected to boost their morale with a three-point haul – Paddy Power pricing them at 4/6 and Stan James quoting the hosts at 9/2 to further dent Roberto Mancini’s hopes of retaining the title.

Ladbrokes post 3/1 against a stalemate on Tyneside, where Stan James offer 7/1 about a 1-1 scoreline but the form of Alan Pardew’s men is undoubtedly a worry and as the visitors at least showed their battling qualities against United last weekend, coming back from two goals down to draw level, they seem to be in far less of a crisis than their opponents.

It’s worth siding with City then but it should nevertheless be a close affair and bet365 offer an enticing 11/4 about an away victory by a one-goal margin while Betfred chalk Mancini’s charges up at 7/1 to finish on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline.

Finally, in attack for Manchester City, Mario Balotelli is likely to make way for Carlos Tevez following a disappointing weekend performance and the Argentine, who made an immediate impact against his former club when coming on as substitute, is 5/1 via Skybet to break the deadlock in this contest.

At Old Trafford, Manchester United are a banker at 1/5 (BetVictor) to get the better of struggling Sunderland, whose lack of goals lends appeal to both Skybet’s even money marked against a win ‘to nil’ for the hosts and bet365’s 6/1 for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to notch twice without reply.

The race for fourth took another twist on Sunday, as Everton struck twice in injury-time to convert a potential defeat into a victory against Tottenham.

However, Spurs should bounce back on Sunday by getting the better of Swansea at White Hart Lane, a result Willliam Hill quote at 8/13. For their part, the Toffees are a 6/4 chance via Paddy Power to follow up that triumph over Andre Villas-Boas’ men by beating Stoke.

But the Potters are unbeaten on their own patch, where they don’t concede many and bet365’s 23/10 marked against it finishing all-square is arguably the best bet at the Britannia Stadium.

Liverpool look to be heading in the right direction having picked up back-to-back victories and the Reds are 2/5 (Ladbrokes) to continue their upward trajectory by making it three-in-a-row against Aston Villa, although Brendan Rodgers’ team may have to ‘settle’ for a 1-0 success, available at 13/2 courtesy of William Hill.

West Brom’s tremendous start to the campaign has been hit by a run of three consecutive defeats but the Baggies should be backed at evens (Stan James) to stop the rot as they face West Ham. BetVictor meanwhile, price Arsenal at 8/13 to see off Reading on Monday.

Finally, at the bottom, winless QPR are 12/5 with bet365 for a fourth draw on the spin as they entertain Fulham and, at Carrow Road, BetVictor rate in-form Norwich at 6/5 to conquer Wigan.

Phil Taylor is 2/1 courtesy of Paddy Power to capture his 16th World Darts Championship title as the competition gets under way this weekend.

Stunned in the second round last year by Dave Chisnall, ‘The Power’ is a hot favourite to come back and scoop the top prize for the first time since 2010.

In-form Dutchman Michael Van Gerwen is hot on Taylor’s heels in the betting at 9/2 (bet365) while defending champion Adrian Lewis is a top price of 12/1 at Ladbrokes.

Amir Khan faces something of a crossroads fight in the early hours of Sunday as he tackles unbeaten Carlos Molina. The Bolton fighter has lost his last couple and badly needs to repair his reputation in Los Angeles, where he’s an emphatic 1/10 favourite with Ladbrokes to stop the rot.

The hungry Molina has yet to taste defeat but he’s really stepping up in class here and his inexperience, especially at the top level, means that Khan is just 4/11 (BetVictor) to prevail by knockout in his first fight with new trainer Virgil Hunter. Bold punters can back the Brit at 9/1 with Stan James to stop the American in the fifth.

Bet of the week: Phil Taylor to win the PDC World Darts Championship – 2/1 (Paddy Power)

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