Down to the wire: Manchester United surrender momentum to leave title in City's sights ahead of biggest derby in history

  • Australia sees ‘regroup’ on MH370 search in a few days
    Australia sees ‘regroup’ on MH370 search in a few days

    Australia will decide in a few days whether to alter or scale back the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, but will consult all countries involved on any changes, Australia's ambassador to the United States said yesterday. Kim Beazley told CNN the search countries would "regroup and reconsider" if nothing is found in a section of... …

  • MAS plane bound for Bangalore makes emergency landing in KLIA after tyre bursts
    MAS plane bound for Bangalore makes emergency landing in KLIA after tyre bursts

    A Malaysia Airlines plane with 166 people on board was forced to make an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur early today in another blow to its safety image after the loss of flight MH370. Flight MH192, bound for Bangalore, India, turned back to Kuala Lumpur after it was discovered that a tyre had burst on take-off, the airline said. "As... …

  • Academic: Seaweed farmers main suspects in turtle deaths
    Academic: Seaweed farmers main suspects in turtle deaths

    PETALING JAYA, April 21 — Seaweed farmers are believed to be responsible for the deaths of four green turtles found floating in the sea between Bum-Bum Island and Kulapuan Island in Semporna.... …

  • Bible, highway storm proves ‘Kajang Move’ right, its engineers say
    Bible, highway storm proves ‘Kajang Move’ right, its engineers say

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has shown he is unfit to head Selangor as seen in his recent fumble of the bible seizure and the green light given for a 14.9km elevated highway... …

  • Mosti deny accusations that R&D grant of RM1.152 billion was abused – Bernama

    The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) today denied allegations of abusing grants amounting to RM1.152 billion that was allocated for research and development (R&D). Its deputy minister Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah said the allocation for the R&D was given to researchers or applicants using a tight procedure. He said... …

  • Singaporean tourist killed, 39 injured in bus accident, the third in 8 days – Bernama

    A Singaporean tourist was killed while 39 others were injured, including two drivers, when the double-decker tour bus they were travelling in plunged into a ravine at KM70 of the Kuantan-Segamat highway near Pekan, Pahang, this afternoon.  The bus, driven by a local driver, transporting 38 Singaporean tourists from Redang Island, Terengganu to... …

COMMENT
By Greg Stobart | UK Correspondent

So much for game over. Roberto Mancini can no longer pretend his Manchester City side have no chance of winning the Premier League and tonight the Italian will be raising a glass to Steven Pienaar as his thoughts turn to derby day.

It always seemed destined to come down to next Monday’s all-Manchester clash, despite all of the twists and turns, the peaks and dips over the season in what has been a two-horse race for as long as anyone can remember.

City will go into that game at the Etihad Stadium knowing that three wins from their final three games will be enough to make them league champions for the first time in 44 years. Their superior goal difference to their neighbours - six goals - means they are likely to top the table even if the cross-city rivals finish with the same number of points.

It did not look like it would be that way with seven minutes to play at Old Trafford on Sunday and United leading 4-2 against Everton. At that moment, Sir Alex Ferguson may have even been considering the prospect of winning the title on the ‘noisy neighbours’ own turf.

When he delivered a double fist salute to the Stretford End, he gave the impression that he was confident his side had done enough.

But late goals from Nikica Jelavic and Pienaar turned the game, and the title race, on its head, resulting in a 4-4 final scoreline to put City back in a title race that looked a foregone conclusion a fortnight ago.

When City lost to Arsenal on April 8, they were eight points behind their great rivals with six games to play. Questions were raised over Mancini’s future while some United fans created t-shirts celebrating a record-breaking 20th title.

The stunt, six weeks before the end of the season, always felt premature but nobody expected United would let their rivals back in the hunt so easily. City took full advantage in the later kick-off at Molineux, beating Wolves 2-0 to reduce the gap at the summit to three points.

Now all of a sudden City have the momentum, having come through their bad patch and won three games in a row. The partnership between Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero is clicking, providing the catalyst for fresher, more energetic performances.

The same could not be said for a United, whose showing against Everton summed up their performances for much of the campaign. Brilliant but careless, Ferguson’s men scored some superb goals but were woefully complacent at the back and left the Toffees with far too much space in the penalty area when they should have shut up shop.

United hunted City down to take top spot in the Premier League but now now must get something from a game they thought on Sunday morning they could afford to lose.

"We've given [Manchester City] the initiative, there's no doubt about that," Sir Alex told Sky Sports on Sunday.

"It makes the game at the Etihad a real important game. It's the decider really. We make it hard for ourselves as we normally do. But we have to go there knowing that we're capable of getting a result.

“There's no reason why we can't do that but there's almost an expectancy from City that this could be their decider, but it's our decider too.

"There will be a reaction, alright, there's no question about that. Next Monday against City, it's always a derby game of the highest proportions, and this won't be any different. Yes, [it's] definitely [the most important of my career]. Game on."

While City’s mini-slump was considered inevitable, no-one expected United to loosen their grip on the baton once they turned into the home straight as clear leaders.

They must now show the superior mental strength and team spirit strangely attributed to them by Mancini.  The proven winners in the squad - from Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes to Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand - must lead by example when the pressure is really on.

Rooney played his part against Everton, scoring twice to take his tally for the season to 26, in the process becoming the fourth highest goalscorer in the club’s history on 180 goals.

But the United players’ faces at full-time told the story. After the humbling 6-1 demolition at the hands of City at Old Trafford in October, they face the ultimate test of character under the lights at the Etihad Stadium.

The build-up has already begun as this compelling modern rivalry embarks on its latest, most significant chapter. It will be the Premier League’s answer to El Clasico. Manchester waits - and both sides of the city will have the champagne on ice.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • In funeral procession, thousands chant ‘Karpal Singh! Karpal Singh! Karpal Singh’ (VIDEO) The Malay Mail Online
    In funeral procession, thousands chant ‘Karpal Singh! Karpal Singh! Karpal Singh’ (VIDEO)

    GEORGE TOWN, April 20 — The streets of Penang’s historical city centre roared with the voices of thousands calling out the name of their state’s beloved son — Karpal Singh.  Elbows jostled with... …

  • Langkawi MP unrepentant, continues insults on late Karpal, says Facebook user The Malaysian Insider
    Langkawi MP unrepentant, continues insults on late Karpal, says Facebook user

    A Barisan Nasional MP whose Facebook posting poking fun at the death of Karpal Singh shocked Malaysians has again insulted the late DAP leader, this time comparing him to a hostile figure in Islamic history who fought against Prophet Muhammad. Facebook user Shamsul Kamal Ariffin Mohd Nasir, 42, told The Malaysian Insider that Langkawi MP,... …

  • Remains of Karpal’s aide to be flown back to India The Malaysian Insider
    Remains of Karpal’s aide to be flown back to India

    The remains of Karpal Singh’s personal aide Michael Cornelius, who died in Thursday's accident along with the Bukit Gelugor MP, will be flown back to India today, according to media reports. Prayers would be held for Michael, 39, at the Ipoh Hospital mortuary before his remains are transferred to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, The... …