Neighbourhood watch

"The title tug-of-war between us and our Manchester neighbours threatens to shred our nerves well into May. There can only be one winner and I haven't got a clue who it will be."

- David Stowell, MUTV

02/02/2012 18:09, Report by David Stowell, MUTV
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Marginal in Manchester

This title race is something else.

Yes, as usual, Liverpool have proved to be weaker than everyone thought and Arsenal have yet again failed to plug the gaps at the back, but it's the title tug-of-war between us and Manchester neighbours that threatens to shred our nerves well into May.

Both teams have played super football this term, both have scored spectacular goals and both have had their periods of wobbling. But there can only be one winner and I haven't got a clue who it will be.

When I was younger, I remember pundits only really started to analyse the title race in March, noting that one team had dropped points so it was an opportunity for the other side to take over. But this season, that sort of microscopic coverage began in August!

It's high pressure stuff and sometimes you just need to man up for 90 minutes and carve out a win. That's what I expected on Tuesday night against Stoke but United played with terrific fluency against a robust Potters side. Yes both goals came from the spot, but the Reds were by far the better side and deserved the three points. Man City, by contrast, were Gibbo-ed at Goodison as a former United midfielder condemned them to defeat.

It was an odd evening all round as it was deadline day as well as matchday. Nobody knew what to expect on or off the pitch and when I arrived at Old Trafford five hours before kick-off, there were rumours circulating that Wesley Sneijder had touched down at Manchester Airport and that Luka Modric had been spotted at Knutsford service station on the M6.

I'm not a fan of the January transfer window especially when matches are scheduled for the day it closes. The haphazard new year jumble sale often threatens to unsettle squads as much as it can potentially make them stronger. Still, it gives Sky Sports News presenter Jim White a chance to get especially excited for a day and allows the 'Breaking News' ticker to take up residence at the bottom of our TV screens for a few extra hours.

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