Roque Santa Cruz believes his fellow Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez will still have a point to prove when the forward lines up against former club Manchester United today.
Tevez was controversially let go by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson before the start of this season.
The Argentina international has responded with 28 goals this term as City, backed by their wealthy Middle East owners, have moved into the top four of the Premier League as they push for a place in next season’s Champions League.
Tevez scored against United in both legs of a thrilling League Cup semi-final earlier in the season, only to finish on the losing side.
Victory for English champions United would see them close to within a point of Chelsea before the leaders kick-off against Tottenham Hotspur later today, but Santa Cruz reckons Tevez is in a mood to put a dent in Ferguson’s title hopes.
“Carlos has been fantastic for the whole season,” Santa Cruz said. “He has been scoring braces and hat-tricks, but this will be a massive game for him. He wants to prove himself against United and possibly try to ruin their hopes for the title. It makes everything a bit more interesting, the fact that they are playing for the league and we are in the last part of the fight for fourth spot.”
United veteran Ryan Giggs, however, insisted that while his team were down, they were far from out.
“We’ve just got to bounce back from the disappointment of the last couple of weeks and we’re definitely not going to give up. We’re going to keep fighting until the end,” Giggs said.
Chelsea will move closer to the title, and a possible domestic double, if they win away to fifth placed London rivals Spurs.
Tottenham, a point behind City, effectively ended Arsenal’s title ambitions in midweek with a 2-1 win in the north London derby and will fancy their chances against Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
Chelsea’s Brazilian defender Alex admits the title is in his side’s hands.
“I think it is our trophy to lose,” Alex said. “I saw yesterday [Wednesday] Arsenal lose and now they are six points behind. I hope we can win the next game against Tottenham, Manchester United have a difficult game.”
Everton and Aston Villa, both still in with a chance of playing in next season’s Europa League, are away to Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth this weekend, while sixth-placed Liverpool face West Ham United at Anfield on Monday.
Portsmouth have already been relegated, but which two clubs will join them in the Championship next season has still to be decided.
Hull City and Burnley are currently in the relegation zone, four points adrift of safety. Hull, thrashed 4-1 by Burnley last weekend, are away to Birmingham City, while Burnley travel to Sunderland.
Bolton and Wolverhampton Wanderers are still in danger, along with Wigan Athletic. Bolton are away to Stoke City, while Wolves head to London to face Europa League semi-finalists Fulham.
Arsenal will hope to return to winning ways at Wigan tomorrow.