Manchester City are the reigning Premier League champions, and are not about to let that crown slip without a fight.
Chelsea surged out of the blocks to open up a commanding lead at the summit, but that advantage has been cut to just three points.
City are right back in the mix, with five straight wins seeing them offer the perfect response to those writing them off during an early-season wobble.
Their arch-rivals Manchester United are also flying into the festive period, with maximum points taken from their last six fixtures.
Eliaquim Mangala believes the Red Devils must be considered serious contenders, but also sees one of those on the fringes of the chasing pack – such as Arsenal – firing themselves into contention over the second-half of the campaign.
City’s £31 million summer signing from Porto told Sky Sports: “It’s all about concentrating on ourselves at the moment, as the season progresses, and winning our own games. As we come into the busy period of Christmas games and Boxing Day, and all over the festive period, one after another, things can turn around really quickly.
“I don’t think it’s down to just two teams, I think a lot of teams can be involved. Just a few games ago we were eight or nine points behind Chelsea, and now we have come right back to be right on their heels.
“They are not making a huge amount of noise about it, but certainly United, in terms of league position and points, they are winning and gradually coming back into things. And who is to say that Arsenal can’t put a run together and get back into the race for the title as well.
“It’s all about concentrating on getting our own results and performing well ourselves in order to put pressure on the other teams.”
City’s challenge could be shaped over the course of the next few weeks, with an important run through to the end of the calendar followed by some crucial clashes in early 2015.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are due to face Arsenal and Chelsea on back-to-back weekends in January, with a visit to Stamford Bridge shaping up to be an epic encounter.
Mangala will be hoping to be involved throughout a potential pivotal stage of the season, with the France international starting to find his feet in England following a difficult start to Premier League life which saw some question his price tag and value to the City cause.