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Manchester City v Liverpool, BT Sport 1, 5.30pm kick-off.
Manchester City will make no special plans to deal with the unstoppable Luis Suarez when Liverpool travel to the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day. In fact, Vincent Kompany can't wait to take on the Premier League's hottest striker.

Suarez has scored 10 Premier League goals already in December - no player has ever scored more than eight before - but Kompany says the challenge of facing the Uruguayan is inspiring.

Kompany: I'd love to face Suarez every week
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"I train against [Sergio] Aguero, and [Alvaro] Negredo every week, so I'm used to facing world-class strikers," City captain Kompany told BT Sport. "It's a challenge I love, I wish I could play against them every week."

City midfielder James Milner added: “He is having a pretty good season. He’s a dangerous player. We have come up against dangerous players so far this season but he will definitely be right up there, so we will need to keep him quiet.

“But Liverpool are a top side having a good season and it’s not just about stopping him, because they have plenty of other players who can do damage as well.”

Luis Suarez has been in superb form after missing the first five matches of the season.

Luis Suarez has been unstoppable in December

City goalkeeper Joe Hart is to retain his place for the Boxing Day clash with Liverpool after making a first Premier League start in almost two months at Fulham. Gaël Clichy could continue on his 'wrong' flank at right-back due to injuries for Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards.

Top scorer Agüero and defender Matija Nastasic are out and Stevan Jovetic missed the win at Fulham due to illness so could be absent once more. Liverpool, meanwhile, miss Steven Gerrard, José Enrique and Daniel Sturridge.

Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho, who will have the task of stopping Negredo, says City's outstanding home form will not intimidate his side. Pellegrini's men have won every game in front of their own fans this season, netting an astonishing 32 goals in eight games.

"That's great for them if they have a great home record, but football nowadays is all about turning form and records around," said Sakho.

"The key for me quite simply is to be determined and confident in ourselves and I hope we will go there to try and put an end to that home record.

"The aim is to try and win every match, whether it's here or at their place, so we'll try and go there determined and ready for the fight and try and win. It's as simple as that.

"I think that when everyone is pulling in the same direction, you can move mountains."

Man City v Liverpool: key statistics

  • The last top-flight team to score as many goals as Man City (35) in their opening eight home games were Spurs in 1962-63.
  • Liverpool have only won one of their last five Barclays Premier League away games (D2 L2).
  • Six of the last nine Premier League matches between Liverpool and Manchester City have been draws (Two City wins, one Liverpool, all 3-0 at home).
  • Manchester City have failed to score in their last two Premier League games played on December 26 (0-0 with WBA in 2011 and 0-1 v Sunderland last year).
  • Luis Suarez already has 10 goals in December 2013 – no other player in the history of the Premier League has scored more than eight in a single month of Premier League action within a season.


West Ham v Arsenal, BT Sport 1, 3pm kick-off.

Arsene Wenger has admitted the Gunners are in a slump in form ahead of the challenge of West Ham.

Wenger's side struggled to create chances in their 0-0 draw with Chelsea and have now gone four games without a win in all competitions.

But the Frenchman has stressed that the spirit remains within his squad as they look to keep the pressure on new leaders Liverpool.

"We dropped two points tonight and that's what we want to focus, to win the next game," said Wenger.

"We're going through a patch where it's a bit more difficult, but part of a successful season is how you deal with that.

"The spirit of the players is unbelievably focused. There's a great desire."

Carlton Cole has struggled to pick up the slack in Andy Carroll's absence.

Carlton Cole has struggled to pick up the slack in Andy Carroll's absence.

"But let's be serious: if after the first game against Aston Villa (when Arsenal lost) I'd told you we'd be top of the league at Christmas, you'd have told me I was absolutely mad.

"We are where we are. The last three games have been a bit more difficult, but we have played Everton, Man City and Chelsea."

Arsenal only have a two-day turnaround before heading to Upton Park for BT Sport's first match in the live Premier League double header, but West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has played down any talk of having an advantage over their London rivals.

Allardyce refused to be drawn on whether Arsenal's form had dipped over the last fortnight, instead insisting his team would need to be at their best to topple their more illustrious opponents.

Wary that West Ham twice got "tumbled over" by the Gunners last season, Allardyce has stressed the need for his team to protect themselves against Arsenal's obvious attacking talents.

"When you play the top boys you have to play to your very best on the day and hope that you take advantage of the opportunities you get or you get a bit of luck," said Allardyce.

"If that goes your way then you can beat anybody in this league on the day but you need certain factors to be in your favour. I have to control the factors I can control and make sure the players play to their best.

"We'll give it our best shot and make sure we protect ourselves against Arsenal's abilities like we saw Chelsea do the other night and then try and exploit some of the weaknesses that aren't as apparent as they used to be. There's a lot of work now which has gone on quietly about how well they defend and that's why they're near the top of the league."

West Ham v Arsenal: Key Stats

  • Theo Walcott has scored in his last three Barclays Premier League appearances against West Ham.
  • Olivier Giroud has scored three goals in his two appearances against the Hammers and Santi Cazorla has two in two.
  • After going seven games without a victory in the Premier League away at a Sam Allardyce team (D3 L4), Arsene Wenger has enjoyed two victories in a row.
  • This is Arsenal’s 100th London derby away from home in the Premier League and the Gunners have won 44 out of 99; more victories on the road than any other team in capital clashes.