It is amazing how much things can change in Manchester.
For much of the 11 games of this Premier League season, the talk has been about whether Manchester United had exited the title race early on as David Moyes may struggle to find his feet in the Old Trafford hot seat – whilst Manchester City should be considered as amongst the favourites to claim their second Premier League crown three years, under new boss Manuel Pellegrini.
When Manchester City took United to the cleaners at Eastlands in September, it seemed everything that had made United great had disappeared, their obituaries were being written and that City had sent out a message to the rest of the league by beating the Champions 4-1.
Now looking at the league table it is United that are the top dogs in Manchester with David Moyes’ side putting together a more steady run ever since their loss to West Bromwich Albion at home – United have picked up 13 points from their last five games. Ever since the derby win for City, they have lost three on the road and picked up nine points from a possible 18.
City remain many people’s favourites for the title despite sitting in eighth place – they are currently best priced 11/4 to win the title, whilst current champions Manchester United are 5/1, lying in fifth place - that itself is a tremendous amount of expectancy.
Pellegrini was brought into Manchester City with the task of mounting a serious challenge for the title – which is stuttering even if it is early on in the season – but also the task of improving the club’s standing in the Champions League – which can’t be doubted so far given the club has already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition, though the group this year does seem softer than that of last year.
He was also given the task of winning five trophies in five years, and in the same interview Chief Executive Ferran Soriano said in May: ‘If next year we don’t win, but progress our football and get to the semi-finals of the Champions League, finish second in the Premier League and lose the FA Cup final again, that will be fine.’
It seems that Pellegrini has a lot of work to do to achieve this. Getting to the semi-finals of the Champions League is never easy, getting to the final of a domestic cup competition likewise, and this season's Premier League looks more competitive than ever. Whilst City are playing some wonderfully entertaining stuff at home, their away form is a massive cause for concern, something which the Chilean has outlined.
But make no mistake, the pressure in Manchester is more on Pellegrini, rather than Moyes who will now be feeling a little more relaxed at Old Trafford. Though there is just one point that separates the two clubs right now.