Manchester City will be hoping the return of the Champions League causes Sir Alex Ferguson to take one eye off the title race.
Manchester United are facing a huge month in February. If they get through the month with their Premier League lead still in tact and an advantage over Real Madrid in their Champions League last 16 tie, they will be a very happy bunch.
The situation for their title rivals Manchester City is quite simple; keep winning and hope for a slip up. This slip up could happen in February more than any other month for the rest of the season.
When Sir Alex Ferguson was interviewed recently about his time at United, the Champions League was the tournament he spoke most fondly of.
He deeply resents not winning the tournament more and says he is still scarred by the chances United have had to win the tournament but have suffered defeat instead. They have Pep Guardiola to thank for that.
It would seem naïve to suggest that Fergie is more focused on the Champions League considering the way United have gone about their Premier League business so far this season.
However, no one can argue against the fact that they will have one eye on Europe’s biggest tournament and they will have to make squad changes which could dent their chances of winning important Premier League matches.
The first advantage City have is the fact they are not still in the Champions League. It may sound counter productive but it means they play one game less than United this month which keeps their players a little bit fresher.
It also means they can focus entirely on the league and putting all of their energy into each game to ensure they give themselves the best possible chance of clawing back the gap that United have opened up.
They also have home advantage in their two biggest games this February; against Liverpool and Chelsea. United are away for two of their three league matches with trips to Fulham and Queens Park Rangers which will not be easy.
City also have an FA Cup game at home against Leeds United which will give Roberto Mancini a chance to rest key players ahead of the final league game against Chelsea.
It’s all starting to look quite good for City ahead of the final chunk of the season but they are still relying on mistakes from their arch rivals which may not appear.
How do you see February panning out in the title race?
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