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A reason for Manchester City to take encouragement?

Manchester City have been eclipsed by their rivals this season. But how bad have they actually been?

It was not meant to be like this. Manchester City won the Premier League last season, so the last thing they would have expected this campaign would be to concede it with four games remaining.

For their rivals it has been a dream, but City may feel after beating United a fortnight ago that the gap between the two sides is not as dramatic as the 16 point differential currently indicates.

City of course have a game in hand, for all it matters, but before they prepare to rip up their template and start again over the summer, there is one reason why they should take encouragement.

For that reason lies in the Premier League table, not in the points tally, but in the losses column.

United have lost four games, City have lost five.

City clearly are, looking at this, not an easy side to beat, only United have lost fewer games than City in the league this season.

Where City have fallen away is their inability to turn draws into wins; City have drawn eight games, while United have found a way to squeak out 1-0 victories and edge close encounters, drawing only three matches.

It's a frustrating for City, in some ways their unsuccessful Premier League defence would be easier to take if they had lost twice as many matches as their rivals - and the disparencies were more easily defined.

Of course in those drawn games, there are reasons themselves. Strikers failing to step up, a midfield which is at times too predictable with not enough threat on the wing.

It is not a problem City can't fix. They have the funds, and the desire to sign a top striker to replace Mario Balotelli. More creative players will arrive too to give them a spark.

United have seen via the clinical finishing of Van Persie, the ability to turn games they would have drawn into victories, especially early on in the season, putting the pressure on City from the get-go.

It is not all gloom at City, and fans should not fall into the trap of believing so.

Failure to fix their shortcomings, and another season like this one may be cause to press the panic button, but there should be no manager sacking, and no gigantic overhaul this summer. 

The spine of their side is strong, and they have uncovered a future star in Nastasic. City will be back, and expect them to put up more of a fight next season.

Should City take encouragement from the fact they have lost just one more league game than United?

image: © pigpilot

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