City ready for massive Chelsea clash

Manchester City is running out of time in its bid to retain the Premier League title.

The Citizens find themselves 12 points behind first-place Manchester United, and things will not get any easier with 12 league games to go as the club gets sets for a massive clash with third-place Chelsea at the Etihad on Sunday.

City has not won a Premier League match since January 19 when it defeated Fulham 2-0 at home. Since then, the club has drawn matches with QPR and Liverpool before suffering a crippling defeat to Southampton, a match that the Saints bossed from beginning to end.

Roberto Mancini's side rebounded last weekend with a comfortable win over Leeds in FA Cup action, and striker Sergio Aguero is hopeful that the performance can spark an upward trend for the final stretch of the season.

"The boost of winning well against Leeds and getting the Southampton defeat out of our system was just what we needed," Aguero told City's official website. "The chances of ending this championship in the best possible fashion have only improved, but we know what we are capable of and have done for a long time. This is a team that always goes for the win in every game."

Chelsea, reigning European champions, will ensure a closely-contested match on Sunday as the Blues come into the weekend trailing the Citizens by just four points.

"Chelsea are a great team," Aguero continued. "They've won the Champions League for a reason and even if they were eliminated from that tournament and haven't had as good as season as they might have expected in the League, they are still a great team with many fantastic players - but so are we.

"But we are even stronger at Etihad so while I hope it's a good match, it goes without saying I hope it goes our way."

Both clubs find themselves chasing United for the title, but it seems to be a futile effort with the Red Devils setting the pace in England's top flight with an astounding 65 points from 26 games. Sir Alex Ferguson's men face a potential trap game on Saturday as they head to Loftus Road to take on last- place QPR.

The race for fourth place is heating up in England as well. Tottenham is clinging to the spot with 48 points, one point shy of Chelsea. Should Chelsea drop points, Spurs can overtake the Blues for third place with a win over West Ham at Upton Park on Monday.

Also vying for the final Champions League qualification spot are Arsenal and Everton, both of which are in action on Saturday. The Gunners, in fifth place on 44 points, will welcome Aston Villa to the Emirates while the Toffees, two points back of Arsenal, head to Carrow Road to take on Norwich City.

Elsewhere in the Premier League on Saturday, Reading and Wigan square off in a relegation six-pointer at the Madejski, Fulham welcomes Stoke City to Craven Cottage and Sunderland heads to the Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich.

And in Sunday's other Premier League fixture, two new-look teams will square off at Sports Direct Arena as Southampton hopes to continue its good form under Mauricio Pochettino against a Newcastle side that is ripe with new faces after the January transfer window.