Manchester City went into last week's crunch game against Chelsea under a lot of pressure.
Had they lost or drawn their credibility as the second best team in England would've come under serious threat.
The likes of Chelsea and a Gareth Bale inspired Tottenham would have felt catching City this season to have been possible. For Spurs it still may be.
But a sumptous performance at the Etihad last Sunday fended off all such possibilities for the time being. City reaffirmed that despite all the money splashed in the summer by Roman Abramovich to strengthen Chelsea's squad, the Premier League remains a two horse race.
Although Manchester United are all set to grab their 20th league title this season, their arch rivals could still yet take advantage of any United stutter United in the coming weeks, mathematically at least.
The two Manchester clubs haven't really been a gulf apart in terms of the football they've played. United have found the knack of carving out results from tough situations this season, even after defending terribly at times - a habit no one else in the league has been able to muster. And that's why they've drifted apart from everyone else - alone at the top.
But is all lost for City this season? I'd say not quite. Not yet.
Lets have look at 3 reasons why City shouldn't give up on their title race.
3. Last season's antics
City don't need to look too far into history to get inspiration. Last season, with fewer games to go than this season, United found themselves eight points ahead of their 'noisy neighbours'. City's manager Roberto Mancini had conceded the title and one had to give in to them winning the campaign. But against all odds, Manchester United's season fell apart.
Losing to a resurgent and relegation threatened Wigan Athletic and conceding two goals in the last 10 minutes to Everton, squandering a two-goal lead in the process, meant that the upcoming derby defeat became critical. The rest is history.
A similar debacle for United is what City should hope for. Of course, they must hit the kind of form they managed last season around the same time, winning six games on the trot culminating in the memorable 94th minute goal to clinch the title.
2. The FA Cup
In recent years, the FA Cup has lost its glitz and shine but it still remains the second most coveted piece of silverware in English football. City, having been knocked out of the Capital One Cup in a shock defeat against Aston Villa, have taken the competition a little more seriously, and now have every chance of making it to the semi finals. They face Barnsley in the sixth round of the 132nd edition of the FA Cup.
Roberto Mancini would've expected another title triumph after their group stage exit in the Champions League earlier in the season, but now that the former looks rather far fetched, Mancini would at least want some form of glory to keep the silverware habit ticking over. For that to happen City need to string a series of both league and cup performances.
1. Manchester United's fixtures
Manchester United scored the all important away goal at the Santiago Bernabeu through Danny Welback's header in the first leg of their high profile round of 16 clash against Real Madrid. The tie ended 1-1 and thus despite Madrid's quality, one would have to think that United will make it through this tie.
That would mean another set of tough Champions League games for them. That is where they could possibly falter. The blue half of Manchester would thus be cheering for the red one for a change in their Champions League campaign in hope of it affecting their league games and City somehow retaining their title.
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