Manchester City's surprise League Cup exit at the hands of Newcastle has left their season in turmoil ahead of Sunday's crucial Manchester derby.
While we may not yet be into November, a third consecutive disappointment, in a third different competition, has left City needing a win against their fierce rivals in order to stop their season spiraling out of control.
On the face of things, few City fans will be fussed about not retaining the League Cup, but the manner of their defeat, and the results that preceded it should unnerve everyone at the Etihad Stadium.
The defeat against Newcastle came on the same day former Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel claimed the Premier League champions were currently a bigger club than their city rivals.
However, unless City can turn things around, starting on Sunday, United have every chance of regaining their status as Manchester's premier outfit.
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City's slump began last week when they surrendered a 2-0 lead against CSKA Moscow, picking up a point that done little for their Champions League aspirations.
On Saturday they had a great opportunity to put things right when they traveled to West Ham in the Premier League knowing a win would put them within two points of league leaders Chelsea, who would visit Manchester United the next day.
Unfortunately for Manuel Pellegrini, City were outplayed by Sam Allardyce's Hammers and succumbed to a 2-1 defeat, allowing Chelsea to open up a six-point lead at the top.
Last night's game offered Pellegrini's side the chance to build some confidence ahead of a hotly-anticipated Manchester derby, but despite dominating possession they fell to a 2-0 defeat to a Newcastle side showing six changes from the 11 who beat Tottenham at the weekend.
With confidence surely lacking around the Etihad Stadium, Pellegrini and his backroom staff have their work cut out lifting the players ahead of the season's first Manchester derby.
Defeat to Louis van Gaal's men could see City drop below fourth-placed West Ham and enable Chelsea to stretch the gap between the two clubs to nine points after just ten games.
City's need for a win will add even more significance to a fixture which has been full of drama and consequences in recent years.
In the corresponding match last season, the home side walked away with a 4-1 victory which would signal their intent and raise early question marks over David Moyes' short-lived reign at Old Trafford.
If the Premier League champions are going to arrest their recent slump and take all three points they'll need big performances from their key men.
Captain Vincent Kompany will need to be at his solid best, while hoping he gets able support from whoever is chosen to partner him in the heart of City's defence.
In midfield, Yaya Toure will need to produce his best performance of the season to make sure City win the battle in the park, and provide ammunition for their front line.
If there's any part of the pitch where City fans can have confidence it's in attack, or more specifically, Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine has been one of few players to perform to his potential this season, and has the ability to win even the most fiercely-fought derby games.
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