“They were playing great football in the first half of the season. We felt the brunt of it when they beat us 6-1.”
“But a season lasts for a bit longer than three months.”
Few people in football can make an initial compliment turn into something quite so cutting like Sir Alex Ferguson.
But, on a weekend when Manchester City again showed numerous frailties just as this season’s title race reaches its climax, few can disagree with his point.
For the fact is that City have now won only once in their last four Premier League meetings following their dramatic 3-3 draw at home to Sunderland on Saturday.
Although the home side did well to claw back from 3-1 down with five minutes to go, the result is all the more worrying given that it represents the first points dropped at home all season.
It had been City’s away form that had handed the initiative to rivals United. Now that they are showing signs of slipping up at home now too, Sir Alex Ferguson will be priming his side for the home straight.
His team face Blackburn at Ewood Park on Monday night (they’re 2/5 to win), a game that should not – and will not – be taken for granted, if only because of Rovers’ shock win at Old Trafford earlier in the season. Steve Kean’s side are 13/2 to repeat the same feat.
However should United prevail, then follow that up with a home victory over QPR on Easter Sunday (13.30 kick off), City could find themselves eight points behind in second heading to the Emirates to take on Arsenal a couple hours later.
No one knows it better than Alex Ferguson that this week could see the title swing irretrievably towards Old Trafford for the 20th time. City are now out to 4/1 to win the Premier League title, with Manchester United now overwhelming favourites at 1/7.