The battle for the title

Before Christmas, it was Manchester City. Now the tide has turned and it’s in Manchester United’s favour. I’m talking, of course, about the quest for the Premier League crown. For all the millions spent in the summer, it was hardly surprising to see City occupying top spot for much of the season. However, recent results have seen their rivals leapfrog them into first place and after a 5-0 thumping of relegation candidates Wolves at the weekend, United have since become the favourites to lift the trophy come May. But, what does Victor Chandler have to say on the race for the Premiership title?

Many had Manchester City as their favourites to lift their second domestic trophy in as many years, their first title since the Premier League’s inception in 1992 and just the fifth team to win the coveted silverware. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy strengthened what was already an impressive squad and early exits from the UEFA Champions League, and then the Europa League, and FA Cup saw their sole focus switch to the league title.

However, having not been in the same position before, Manchester United were always going to be hot their rivals heels in the race for the Premiership crown and it was hardly surprising to see the Red Devils secure top spot last weekend after City failed to break down Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. The 5-0 win over Wolves saw them reinstate their credentials as title favourites, while gaining ground on the impressive goal difference the Citizens have amounted over the campaign.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been in a similar position over his impressive 25 year reign of the club and has helped build a winning mentality over the past quarter of a century that United have put to successful use over the years. Like their neighbours, early exits from Europe and the FA Cup meant their attention was also switched back to defending their Premier League crown and adding number 20 to their top flight championships.

Yet, anyone would be foolish to write City off, even if they languish four points behind their rivals, albeit, with a game in hand. They have the strength in depth to make an emphatic comeback before the end of the season and with the pressure now off them having dropped to second, many believe they will make a late surge to usurp United at the summit of the Premiership.

Pundits are now looking to the Manchester derby at the end of April as the game to decide which side of Manchester the title will end up. The two sides come together at the Etihad Stadium on the 30th of April in a game that both teams are likely to press for victory to either secure glory or drag themselves back into the race. City will undoubtedly be confident off downing their neighbours having done so emphatically back in October when they travelled to Old Trafford and secured a 6-1 win over the Red Devils.

However, United will also feel they can knock the Citizens off their perch having done so once already this season during the FA Cup in an enthralling 3-2 win to knock the holders out at the third round. Either way, the race for the title is likely to go to the wire with many pondering; will it be City or United this season?

Ben McAleer