Manchester City will officially hand the Premier League trophy back to their neighbours Manchester United if they lose to Tottenham on Sunday and the Reds pick up all three points in their tie with Aston Villa on Monday evening.
There has been a sense of inevitability hanging over the title race for quite a while now and Roberto Mancini will want to prolong that, but barring a major slip up from United the trophy will surely be heading back to Old Trafford next month.
Spurs host the Citizens knowing that they have failed to win a single game this calendar year in which Gareth Bale hasn’t scored, so his absence (ankle) does not bode well for Andre Villas-Boas’ men. However, if they are to make a serious stake in the battle for third and fourth places then three points is vital.
As well as Bale being ruled out, Jermain Defoe (muscle injury) and Aaron Lennon (knee) are doubtful ahead of the game. Emmanuel Adebayor, the villain from Spurs’ penalty shootout with FC Basel last week in the Europa League quarter-final, is likely to get the nod up front as he is the club’s only fit first team forward. If you forecast the Togo international landing a blow to City’s title hopes and online gambling is your thing, then Bet 365 are offering a tempting 13/2 for him to be first goal scorer.
City’s hectic schedule means Roberto Mancini is likely to make changes from the starting line up that beat Wigan 1-0 in the week. Sergio Aguero looks set to miss out with a reoccurrence of a hamstring injury, whilst Maicon may be sidelined with a bout of illness. David Silva looks set to return after a hamstring niggle, whereas Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy and Pablo Zabaleta are also expected to return to the starting line up after being rested.
If you fancy the latter to open the scoring, you can get up to 45/1 with Betfair.
City will be in boyish mood when the travel to the capital on Sunday knowing that Spurs have failed to beat them in the last four meetings. City are also undefeated in 34 of their last 38 games and will be out to prove to United that the pressure is still on.
Surely Mancini’s men cannot replicate the breathtaking finale of last season, can they?
Prediction: Tottenham 1-2 Man City – 19/2 Bet Victor