Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Barclays Premier League

Benitez looks to get win over City



Rafael Benitez can boost his standing among the Chelsea fans skeptical about his appointment as interim manager by masterminding a victory over unbeaten leaders Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.

After nearly two years out of management, Benitez was brought in Wednesday to replace the fired Roberto Di Matteo with Chelsea's league challenge faltering and a successful defense of its Champions League title looking unlikely.

A lot has changed since Benitez last worked in the Premier League - the final game of his six-year stint at Liverpool was in May 2010 - and that includes the emergence of big-spending City as a force.

After winning the title last season, City have climbed back to the top of the standings and are four points ahead of third-place Chelsea going into the match at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United, who are toppled by City after a surprise 1-0 loss at Norwich on Saturday, host last-place Queens Park Rangers. A home victory could be the final straw for under-fire QPR manager Mark Hughes - a former United player.

City's first loss of last season came at Chelsea, and if the European champions can repeat those exploits 11 months ago, Benitez would go a long way to convincing those supporters who doubt whether his hiring until the end of the season is an upgrade from Di Matteo.

"Rafa Benitez is a great coach," Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata said. "He's got lots of experience and won a lot of trophies with Liverpool, taking them to a very high level. He knows the Premier League, too."

Benitez's first dilemma is whether to recall misfiring striker Fernando Torres, who was dropped by Di Matteo for the 3-0 loss at Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday. Benitez and Torres enjoyed a strong working relationship at Liverpool, with the striker arguably producing the best form of his career.

Benitez also has to shore up a leaky defense that is still missing injured captain John Terry, at a time when City's attack seems to have clicked.

The defending champions thrashed Aston Villa 5-0 last weekend and created enough chances late in the 1-1 draw against Real Madrid on Wednesday to have scraped a win that would have kept its qualification hopes alive.

Argentina striker Sergio Aguero has scored in each of his past four matches after a low-key start to the campaign, while Carlos Tevez has netted six times already in the league, looking a different player to the one that spent most of last season on strike.

"A very important factor is the fact I have all my family here in Manchester, which makes me very happy," Tevez said. "I am not worrying about the things I used to worry about, I am just concentrating on enjoying my time out on the field."

Hughes was expected to become the first Premier League manager to be fired after his team's winless start was extended last weekend with a dispiriting 3-1 home loss to Southampton.

QPR owner Tony Fernandes has held fire for the moment but a heavy defeat at United could make Hughes' position untenable. The west London club is five points from safety, having only picked up four points so far.

United will also be desperate to avenge their sloppy loss at Norwich, with their best players fresh after being rested for the Champions League match at Turkish side Galatarasaray on Tuesday.

Also on Saturday, fourth-place West Bromwich will look to maintain their surprise start to the campaign when they travel to Sunderland and fifth-place Everton host Norwich. The other games are: Stoke v Fulham, Wigan v Reading and Aston Villa v Arsenal.

On Sunday, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers makes his first return to Swansea since leaving the Welsh club for Anfield in the offseason. Southampton host Newcastle and Tottenham are at home to West Ham.

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R152.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
FIFA 14
Xbox 360
R549.00
Mitre Ultimatch Soccer Ball - White
A high quality football, offering high performance at both training and during football matches.
R252.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

Thu, 17 Apr @ 05:00
Fri, 18 Apr @ 07:50
Fri, 18 Apr @ 08:00
Fri, 18 Apr @ 09:00

Sports Talk



Iwedi Ojinmah
For Nigeria the noise will come
One just has to look at a map of Africa and South America to understand the special relationship...

Neil Tovey
Climbing the pyramid of success
The fact that an Al Ahly official said the club “have started negotiations with Oupa Manyisa”...

Segun Odegbami
Tradition and history against Africa
It is eight weeks to the start of the 2014 World Cup and predictions are being made on who will...

Carol Radull
Respect your coaches please
I’m a little sick in the pit of my stomach over how Kenyan Premier Clubs are treating their coaches.

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Liverpool staying the course
In an incredible atmosphere at Anfield, Liverpool kept up their relentless pursuit of Liverpool’s...

Chima Emmanuel Aguma
Give David Moyes a chance, would you?
All season long the name David Moyes has been on the lips of every football spectator and...