Manchester City are now odds-on favourites to win the Premier League but here are 7 reasons why Manchester United can still be crowned champions on May 11.
Roberto Mancini claimed in the aftermath of Manchester City's 1-0 win over Manchester United on Monday evening that he still believed that the Red Devils were the favourites to win the Premier League. The bookmakers disagree with Mancini and Blue Square offer a top price of 1/2 that the Citizens are crowned champions with Manchester United now 2/1 at Betfred.
However, those odds may not accurately reflect the chances of Sir Alex Ferguson's side overturning an 8 goal deficit and retaining the Premier League title. Here are seven reasons why United can still win the league.
1. Manchester United have done it before
Okay, it's an obvious argument but it's a pertinent one. The Red Devils are the reigning champions and they have 12 Premier League titles in the Old Trafford trophy cabinet. Manchester City have none. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are lauded as having huge experience but Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra, Park Ji-Sung and Nani have all won multiple Premier League titles. Carlos Tevez is the only Manchester City player with a league winners medal to his name, and the Argentine won that while playing for United.
2. Manchester City have to play Newcastle United
Manchester City only have two games remaining this season but one of them is against one of the most impressive sides in the Premier League. Newcastle United have confounded expectations and are challenging for a place in the Champions League and have all to play for at the Sports Direct Arena on May 6. The Magpies have already beaten Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton and drew with Arsenal and Spurs. If City win in the North East then they will become only the second team (after Chelsea) in the top eight to do so.
3. Manchester United have to play Swansea City
Swansea City have been brilliant this season but they have clearly checked out for the season, with one win in their last seven matches. They lost 3-0 to QPR, 3-1 to Spurs and conceded 4 goals to Wolves last weekend. It is certainly not inconceivable, as Gary Neville alluded to on Monday night, that Manchester United go out and blitz the Swans on Sunday afternoon. City beat them 4-0 on the opening day, why can't United win by more than that?
4. Mark Hughes is the manager of QPR
Manchester City play QPR on the final day of the season. This would be a tough match under normal circumstances, with Rangers fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table, but the presence in the home dugout of the former City manager gives the fixture added spice. Hughes is a former Manchester United player who managed City and was fired in ignominious circumstances. He will be desperate to prevent Manchester City from winning the title and that makes the match on May 11 incredibly difficult for the Citizens.
5. Sunderland's Manchester United connection
The Stadium of Light has become something of a retirement home for former Manchester United players in recent seasons. Former Red Devil Steve Bruce may have left Wearside but there are still a total of five ex United fans in the Sunderland squad. Black Cats manager Martin O'Neill also has United connections (albeit through former owners JP McManus & John Magnier) and whilst we're not suggesting that Sunderland will lie down, we will say that if this was in Italy there would be some serious questions being asked ahead of the game on May 11.
6. Mario Balotelli
So far this season Roberto Mancini has fallen out with Mario Balotelli. Balotelli and Richards have come to blows. Balotelli and Yaya Toure have come to blows. Balotelli and Kolarov have argued on the field. The Italian has also been sent off twice. There is still every chance that, if included in the side, Balotelli's temper could cause problems on the field over the next two weeks. If he's not included in the squad then he could easily cause disruptions off the field that could derail City's focus over the next fortnight.
7. The bookies have paid out on Manchester United
Well, one bookie has. Fred Done, the owner of Betfred
, paid out on all pre-season bets on Manchester United winning the Premier League. Obviously this was done before United's slips against Wigan and Everton but when was the last time a bookmaker got it this wrong?
What do you think? Let us know who you think will win the Premier League title below and add in any reasons we've missed out why Manchester United can still be crowned champions.