That gap is easily closed with a good run of form, but Pat Nevin has told the official Chelsea website that City should now be wary of the host of teams coming up behind them, with Southampton, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal all vying for a top four spot.
On current form, one would suggest that Spurs and Southampton are looking good for securing Champions League qualification next season, although Arsenal can never be written off, and United keep securing points despite performances far away from a Premier League level. There are now just four points between City in second and Southampton in third, and that gap could be closed even further this week. City head for a tough away trip at Stoke, whilst the Saints host West Ham, United host Burnley and Spurs take on Liverpool at Anfield.
Should City drop more points and their competitors close the gap, Manuel Pellegrini will be more worried about securing a top four finish than beating Chelsea to the Premier League crown, and Nevin believes that the Etihad club will start feeling the pressure of being chased, rather than being the chaser.
The former Scottish international said: “Up until now City have been looking ahead towards Chelsea in the lead. Always having us in their sights and confident of catching us up as the race has gone on. Not winning at the Bridge hampered them, but not getting over the tricky little obstacle of Hull City could have an even bigger effect. The City home record since Christmas has been awful.
“Of course Jose [Mourinho] and the team can’t ponder too long on what anyone else does but it is getting close to the situation where City will start feeling the pressure of those coming up behind them on the rails. Spurs, Southampton and Manchester United are all closer to City than City are to Chelsea right now in the table. It is a totally different dynamic when you feel you are being chased compared to doing the chasing, it is much harder for them.”
City have a squad full of Premier League winners and experienced internationals, and it is likely that they will show enough to hold onto their second placed position. However, if their poor run of form continues - and Spurs continue to excel as they have been recently - Pellegrini could well be out of a job come the summer, with Tottenham moving ahead of them in the race for the Premier League.