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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Football

EPL: Onus on City to stay in title hunt
AFP
London, March 15, 2014
First Published: 00:36 IST(15/3/2014)
Last Updated: 00:39 IST(15/3/2014)

Following FA Cup and Champions League exits in the space of four days, Manchester City will look to relaunch their Premier League title challenge at Hull Cityon Saturday.

March has been a topsy-turvy month for Manuel Pellegrini's men, whose League Cup triumph over Sunderland was followed by last weekend's shock defeat by Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup and the mid-week Champions League loss to Barcelona.

The 2012 champions now have three games in hand and, with Liverpool and Arsenal both seven points off the pace (albeit with a game in hand each), they seem the side most likely to knock Chelsea off the summit.

Their cup commitments have left a mark, however, with top scorer Sergio Aguero a doubt for the trip to the KC Stadium after being withdrawn due to a hamstring problem during Wednesday's game at Barcelona.

Hull will be buoyed by having reached the FA Cup semifinals for the first time since 1930 last weekend, but City midfielder Samir Nasri says that his side are supremely motivated by the challenge of reeling Chelsea in.

"We don't have a choice. Now our target is to win the league," he told reporters after City's 2-1 defeat at Camp Nou extinguished their hopes of a trophy treble.

"I think here we showed we have the quality to be up there with the best teams in Europe. It is a good thing for us. It is important now to finish the season well and win the league."

Blues cautious
With Saturday's game a lunchtime kick-off, victory for City would provisionally take them to within six points of Chelsea, who visit mid-table Aston Villa later in the day.

Chelsea crushed Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 at Stamford Bridge last Saturday, but despite their sizeable lead, goalkeeper Petr Cech has echoed manager Jose Mourinho by expressing caution over their title chances.

"City have enough experience and quality in their squad to win their games in hand, and it's up to them to do that," he told the club website. "We are in a good position, we go game by game, and we try to do our best."


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