I must admit, I’ve been writing for weeks that the Premier League title is a foregone conclusion – United are going to winning it, right?
Now, I’m not so sure – I mean, I’m still sure, but just not so sure. United’s defeat to City could be written off as just a derby defeat but, in the wider context, it’s their second defeat on the bounce after last Monday’s FA Cup exit to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Maybe they just don’t like Mondays (who does?) but maybe there’s more to it than that. Forgive me but it’s still mathematically possible for City to retain the title.
It’s improbable that United will drop 12 points from the 21 available but it’s not impossible. That equates to 4 defeats or 6 draws. I can’t seen it happening personally but I could almost just about maybe see them drawing a couple and losing a couple with a derby defeat hangover still in their system.
Their remaining fixtures are against Stoke, West Ham, Aston Villa, Arsenal, Chelsea, Swansea and West Brom.
There are easily two defeats in there if they’re not careful – especially, as I’ve outlined in another piece, if Robin van Persie doesn’t find his shooting boots post haste.
There are a couple of tricky fixtures in there – they’ve been beaten by Chelsea recently, so that’s definitely possible. Playing Arsenal at the Emirates in their current vein of form – they’ve taken 18 points from the last 21 available – is not going to be the walk over it was at Old Trafford back in November.
Stoke are tough to break down, West Ham will make life difficult for them, Swansea are tricky customers, West Brom are consistently unpredictable, and Aston Villa are fighting for survival.
There are no easy games in the Premier League these days, even if you are Manchester United. The title is a foregone conclusion. Sort of. Probably. Maybe. Not really. Only one thing’s for sure: after the derby it’s advantage Manchester City in terms of momentum.