Will the Premier League trophy need blue or red ribbons Sportsmail predicts the title run-in
10:30 GMT, 23 March 2012
It all comes down to this. Manchester United lead neighbours and rivals Manchester City by a single point at the summit of the Barclays Premier League.
City needed something special to beat Chelsea on Wednesday night – it took a spark of Tevez magic to transform them from a team that looked out of ideas, to one that is sure to worry their title challengers.
But fresh from last weekend’s 5-0 demolition
against Wolves, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils don’t look like they’re
going to give up the top spot easily.
There will be a mighty tussle to decide who will be crowned champions. Here, Sportsmail predicts how the title race will unfold.
Royal rumble: Manchester City and Manchester United will fight it out for the title
Standings: 1st – Manchester United 70 points, 2nd – Manchester City 69 points
March 24, Stoke v Man City
The Potters have taken points off United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea this season, but offered little attacking potency against Spurs. City win.
March 26, Man Utd v Fulham
Fulham have won only twice on the road
this campaign, and recently lost to Aston Villa. This should be a
formality for United. United win.
1 – Man Utd 73 points, 2 – Man City 72
Influence: Will Mario Balotelli be able to secure vital points for City
March 31, Man City v Sunderland
City were beaten by a late Ji Dong-won goal by Sunderland in January and will be looking to make amends. City win.
April 2, Blackburn v Man Utd
Blackburn have beaten United before.
The 3-2 victory at Old Trafford was arguably the shock of the season.
But they are unlikely to pull it out of the bag again. United win.
1 – Man Utd 76, 2 – Man City 75
April 8, Arsenal v Man City
In-form Van Persie is unstoppable right now, and a resurgent Arsenal are likely to offer Roberto Mancini’s men a stern examination at the Emirates. City lose.
April 8 QPR v Man Utd
United will be cautious of this one.
QPR managed to beat Liverpool this week 3-2. Is a comeback on the cards
Unlikely. United win.
1 – Man Utd 79, 2 – Man City 75
Poacher: Javier Hernandez will be hoping to contribute in the run-in
April 11, Man City v West Brom
West Brom have been impressive away from home this season, winning six times. But when they come to the Etihad, a win seems a big ask. City win.
April 11 Wigan v Man Utd
Wigan only managed to draw with West
Brom, with their danger man Mohammed Diame squandering a chance to win
things for them. He’ll need to make his chances count here. If he gets
any. United win.
1 – Man Utd 82, 2 – Man City 78
April 14, Norwich v Man City
Norwich recently lost against Newcastle but didn’t make it easy for them. Adam Drury, Norwich’s left-back, managed to get himself forward and create chances. Still, City will beat them. City win.
April 15, Man Utd v Aston Villa
Beat Fulham and super-sub, Austrian
under-21 star Andreas Weimann, looks dangerous. But this should be an
easy win for United. United win.
1 – Man Utd 85, 2 – Man City 81
All together now: Manchester City must pull in the same direction to achieve glory
April 22 Wolves v Man City
Wolves season is in tatters, and they were recently hammered 5-0 by Manchester United. City will be big favourites. City win.
April 22, Man Utd v Everton
Everton have proved tricky opponents
for United in recent years at Goodison Park but have lost on their last
five league trips to Old Trafford. United win.
1 – Man Utd 88, 2 – Man City 84
CRUNCH CLASH: April 30, City v United
The clash of the titans. Given
significant added spice by City’s stunning 6-1 win at Old Trafford in
October. But United have won once already at the Etihad this season in
the FA Cup. Too close to call. Draw.
1 – Man Utd 89, 2 – Man City 85
Grudge match: Who will be happiest after City face United on April 30 Roberto Mancini or Sir Alex Ferguson
May 6 Newcastle v Man City
Newcastle thumped United 3-0 at home earlier in the season and look solid at the back, with goalkeeper Tim Krul putting in good showings of late. He’ll be busy, mind. City win.
May 6, Man Utd v Swansea
Beat Fulham recently with a convincing
3-0 this month. Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson has proved a great signing,
but United are a different class. United win.
1 – Man Utd 92, 2 – Man City 88 – MANCHESTER UNITED CROWNED CHAMPIONS
Repeat: If the results fall as predicted, we could well be seeing these scenes again
May 13, Man City v QPR
If the title race is still alive then City have the marginal advantage in that they are at home, although QPR could well be striving for Premier League survival. City win.
May 13 Sunderland v Man Utd
Sunderland will have little to play for, but will put up a brave fight under Martin O’Neill. United win.
FINAL STANDINGS: 1 – Man Utd 95, 2 – Man City 91