Carlos Tevez returns as Man City hosts Chelsea
Four points behind leaders Manchester United, with a game in hand, nothing short of victory will be good enough for City, who topped the table for much of the season.
With Chelsea chasing third spot after rediscovering something close to top form and with Fernando Torres back on the score sheet, City know they will be in for a tough match at the Etihad Stadium.
And with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson upping the mind games after his own side’s 5-0 win at Wolves on Sunday; City manager Roberto Mancini has it all to prove.
The Italian is considering restoring Carlos Tevez to his squad after the Argentina forward’s bizarre year in which he turned his back on the club only to return.
But City midfielder Nigel de Jong believes the big-spending club can handle the pressure.
“We don’t fear the momentum is with United,” the Dutchman said. “We don’t have any fear.
“Over the last 12 days or so we’ve been in a moment where things haven’t been as easy as they were at the start of the season.
“The next 10 games are cup finals ¬because we have only the League now.”
City goes into the match with Chelsea on the back of their exit from the Europa League and a shock defeat at Swansea in their last Premier League match.
They could be boosted by the return of Vincent Kompany but will be aware of the threat of a rejuvenated Torres, who broke his scoring drought with two goals on Sunday.
The Spaniard was the scourge of Manchester United when he wore the shirt of Liverpool but now could have a say in pushing the title United’s way if he helps Chelsea beat City.
“I needed those goals and I’ve been working so hard to get them,” the Spaniard said.
“This season I have been playing at a very good level but I was not scoring goals. The job of the strikers is scoring goals and if you don’t do that people think you are playing bad. The main thing for me has been the support of the people.
“They are always with me and now I feel the confidence of the manager as well. It’s a good time for me and a good time for Chelsea.”
Four points behind Tottenham and three behind Arsenal, a win for Chelsea would also boost their own hopes of a top-three spot.
Tottenham host Stoke City on Wednesday night while Arsenal travel to Everton.
Liverpool, sitting seventh and 10 points behind Arsenal but who have not given up their own hopes of a top-four berth, are away to Queens Park Rangers.
Bolton’s game at Aston Villa set for Tuesday has been postponed after Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest in Saturday’s FA cup quarterfinal with Tottenham and remained in critical condition in the heart attack centre of a London hospital.
Tottenham v Stoke
Man City v Chelsea
QPR v Liverpool
Everton v Arsenal