After establishing an eight point lead at the top of the Premier League three weeks ago, Manchester United were much shorter than the 4/9 price they currently are to claim the title.
A shock defeat away to Wigan, along with a 4-4 home draw with Everton, has seen United’s advantage at the top cut to three points, meaning their meeting with Manchester City at Eastlands next week will take on great significance.
City have won each of their fixtures since defeat to Arsenal had appeared to end their title bid, and the Citizens are now 13/8 to claim a maiden Premier League title, a far cry from the 8/1 price they were attributed ahead of their Emirates visit in early April.
Roberto Mancini’s side’s 2-0 win away to Wolves yesterday saw them establish a goal difference that is six superior to United’s, further indicating the magnitude of next week’s clash.
Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson has labelled it the “biggest derby game in my time at the club,” which appears more remarkable considering the manager is in the 26th year of his Old Trafford tenure.
It is the next game that either side will play, and could in essence be a title decider, though both teams still have difficult fixtures to come even after their monster derby clash.
Manchester United must still welcome an impressive Swansea side to Old Trafford, whilst a trip to Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland will be far from straightforward.
Meanwhile, City must travel to Champions League hopefuls Newcastle before Mark Hughes makes his Eastlands return with a QPR team battling hard for survival.
The incentive of a 20th title for United, and first for City in the Premier League’s current format, would appear to indicate that either will be inspired to overcome their opponents after the derby however.
Prices are sure to fluctuate dependant on next Monday’s result, and so punters should make their minds up sooner rather than later regarding the Premier League winners.