Manchester City fans will have an unusual feeling over the holiday period. While they enjoy their presents, mince pies and mulled wine they will take equal pleasure in looking at the Premier League table, with their side top of the tree on the 25th December for the first time since 1929.
Sheikh Mansour’s half a billion investment in three years is starting to bear fruit with the club steamrollering their way through the first half of the season.
Manchester United are grimly keeping in touch – as hardened veterans of title races do – but with injuries mounting up at Old Trafford, City’s status as favourites in the sport betting is justified.
The way they responded to their first league defeat of the season – a 2-1 reverse at Stamford Bridge – with wins against Arsenal and Stoke, suggests City’s long wait for a third league title may be coming to an end.
Certainly those who bet on sports are backing the Abu Dhabi fuelled club to take the title, with the only obstacle perhaps being a hectic January that sees them compete in three competitions.
However, such is the finances at the Etihad Stadium Roberto Mancini could go out and buy another three or four (or five) players to strengthen his squad in January.
Their FA Cup win last season appeared to give the club the belief that they could compete at the top of the table and their drop out of the Champions League earlier this month may prove a blessing in disguise.
They can now rest their entire first team for the Europa League, knowing a European exit will not be a disastrous outcome, and that extra freshness in the title run-in could prove decisive.
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