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Latest Football Tips: Tottenham can heap misery on Arsenal and Wenger

Thursday, 23rd February 2012

There are just two live matches in the Premier League this weekend with Saturday evening's Man City v Blackburn game the first we'll take a look at. I think Roberto Mancini's side by their own admission haven't been at the top of their game for a while now. We've certainly not seen much of their fluent style of late, which was bulldozingteams in the first three months of the season.Perhaps this has been down to missing some vital playersthrough injury, suspension and the African Cup of Nations, but I don't thinkall of the remaining players have been on top of their game so far in 2012.

There was a sign of a return to top form when beating Porto 4-0 in the Europa League on Wednesday night and when all said and done City are still two points clear at the top of thetable and have won five of their last sixgames in the Premier League.

Much of the talk this week has been about CarlosTevez and it now looks as though he's made his peace with the club and could be availablefor selection in a couple of weeks. In all due respect, City were flying when the original bust up occurred and it was easy for Mancini to take a tough stance with the Argentinian striker. But, the defeats at Sunderland and Everton plus the way City went out of the cups in recent weeks showed a vulnerability that youjust couldn't see three months ago.

In footballyour professional side will always outweigh any personal feelings you may have when the stakes are so high and if Roberto Mancini thinks that Carlos Tevez's inclusion in his team can win them the title then he will be selected.

With regards to Saturday's match against Blackburn, this should be a straightforward home win as the odds of 1/6 on City suggest. It'll be interesting to see how Blackburn approach the game and despite already having won in Manchester against United at Christmas, I can't see them gettingthe same kind of joy here.

Yakubuis back in the Blackburn team and they dohave goals in them, but I don't see City playing as open as United didon New Year's Eve and they also won't have the selection woes that Sir Alex did on that day. As I say, I don't see Man Cityallowing this to be an open game and I'm going for a comfortable 2-0 home win at odds of 10/1 with Bet365.

Sunday's live Premier League match is the Arsenal v Tottenham clash at The Emirates Stadium. This is a great game for Arsenal as it can give them the opportunity to spin all the negativity that has built up following their recent defeats at AC Milan and Sunderland. However, I'm not sure they're going to be good enoughagainst a very strong Spurs side. I'd probably be wanting to wait for the team news for this one as we've seen that ifTottenham are missing two or three players they're not the same force.

Arsenal have gone backwards in the last six years and it seems that Arsene Wenger has gone from being a pioneer of the game froma coaching perspective to now playing catch-up.The Gunnersare at home on Sunday which could be a blessing but they look so vulnerable at the back and if Spurs gointo this North Londonderby with a full strength team, especially with the sensational Scott Parker bossing the midfield then I can only see an away win.It's for this reason that I'm going for a 2-1 win in the favour of Harry Redknapp's team at odds of 7/1 with bookmaker Coral.

Wembley hosts its first cup final of 2012 on Sunday as Liverpool take on Cardiff in the Carling Cup. This should be all about Liverpool who are as short as 4/11 tolift the trophy and you have to think if they play well they'll win. To be fair to Cardiff I've seen them play before against Premier League opposition and they've passed the ball well and looked confident in posession. Malky Mackay's team havehit a bit of a rough patch however and I wonder if this game has been on the players' minds.

I expectCardiff to line up in a 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 formation and try to overcrowdareas of the pitch. It'll be interesting to see how Liverpool set-up, asKenny Dalglish has switched betweenplaying the lone man up front or a 4-4-2 formation. I feel thatLiverpool don't get enough players in the box when playing one forward,butthey also lack natural width whenplaying four in midfield.

Four weeks ago I might have seen this differentlyas in a one off match anything can happen as Birmingham proved last seasonby beating Arsenal. However, withCardiff's form a big concern and Liverpool putting six past Brighton in the FA Cup last week, It'sdifficult to see anythingother than a win for the Premier League side.I'm going for a 3-1 correct scorein the favour ofLiverpool at odds of 12/1 with Ladbrokes.

Steve Claridge's Weekend Football Tips

Tip #1:Man City v Blackburn(25th Feb 2012)City to win 2-0 @ odds of 10/1 with Bet365.

Tip #2: Arsenal v Tottenham (26th Feb 2012) Spurs to win 2-1 @ odds of 7/1 with Coral.

Tip #3:Liverpool v Cardiff(26th Feb 2012)Liverpool to win 3-1@ odds of 12/1 with Ladbrokes.

Steve's Weekly Multi:West Hamto beatCrystal Palace(8/13);Oxford to beat Macclesfield (8/15);Plymouth to beatDagenham and Redbridge(Evs); Swindon to beat Accrington (1/2). Afourfold with Ladbrokes.com pays justunder 13/2.

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