“While you still have a chance you should do everything and we have six games so never say never,” said a defiant Roberto Mancini after Manchester City lost to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last Sunday.
That defeat was City’s 4th Premier League game in-a-row without a win and it left them a massive eight points behind Manchester United. The title race was all over bar the shouting but Mancini refused to see it.
Fast forward a week and City are two points behind following wins over West Brom and Norwich, scoring ten goals across the two games. Mancini must be feeling the tide turn back in his favour. There’s still enough time left in the season to get over their recent blip and land the Premier League crown.
“The title race is still over. Against a strong United side, it is impossible for us to win this title from the position we’re in,” was his unexpected response after trouncing Norwich away from home.
With the Manchester Derby just over two weeks away, if City win that game they’ll only need United to slip up once in their four other remaining games. With a healthier goal difference Mancini should be ranting Keegan-esque about how he’d “love it, love it” if he could beat United.
Instead there’s no hysterical break down, just some very Ferguson-esque bullshit. Bullshit none of us believe but which can prove somewhat unsettling nonetheless.
“It’s back on, isn’t it?” Alex Ferguson rhetorically asked the media during the press conference ahead of his United’s game with Aston Villa today. Is this a genuine, honest, sentiment or merely a reaction to Mancini’s assertion that that the race has already been run?
Could Mancini possibly be starting to unsettle Ferguson? The United boss was unable to get a reaction from his players as they flopped to defeat against Wigan. If they underperform again today and drop points will Mancini switch to the attack or will he offer to forfeit the title to United because the outcome is so inevitable?
Aston Villa won this fixture two seasons ago thanks to a Gabriel Agbonlahor goal. A repeat of that result would throw the title race wide-open, or wide enough to allow two teams to comfortably move about freely. Can Villa match Wigan’s efforts? Will United have a second stinking performance on the bounce? Will Mancini win the mind-games war?
Tune in to Sky Sports 1 at 4pm to find out.