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"United definitely have the momentum. It’s 11 wins from the last 12 league games now, which reminds me a little of that incredible run the team went on in 1996 to pip Newcastle to the title... A five-point lead at this stage of the season is a big, big advantage." - Neil Custis

05/04/2012 09:00
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Run-in Pundits: Neil Custis

ManUtd.com has assembled a crack team of experts to discuss the state of play in the title race before each of the remaining league fixtures. Here, as the Reds prepare to take on QPR and City travel to Arsenal, is The Sun football writer Neil Custis...

It’s been a massive week in the title race. Sir Alex's side is now five points clear and, with just seven games to go, you sense it would take an implosion by Manchester United, of the likes we’ve never seen from them, to hand City the trophy.

United definitely have the momentum. It’s 11 wins from the last 12 league games now, which reminds me of that incredible run the team went on in 1996 to pip Newcastle to the title. It’s almost as if Sir Alex just waited for the right moment to put his foot on the accelerator; now it looks as though he’s not going to take it off.

Before last weekend I was convinced it would go down to the wire. But the way City played against Sunderland suggested they’ve run out of steam. Yaya Toure went to the Africa Cup of Nations and then had to slot straight back into the title race. That was difficult for him. David Silva also looks worn out.

I also think United’s relentless pursuit has played its part. The mental toll of watching United come back from being three goals down at Chelsea to draw, or scoring a last-minute winner at Norwich, is huge. That can’t be easy.

The only chance City have got is this weekend: if they can win at Arsenal and United somehow drop points against QPR then they're right back in the hunt. But I can’t see that happening. If United win, I can’t see a way back for City, regardless of their result at the Emirates.

It’s going to take a huge revival from City to recapture the form they showed in the first half of the season because we haven’t really seen that for a long time. Watching City now compared to watching them back in September and October is like chalk and cheese. They’re nowhere near the team they were. The best City can aim for now is to be within three points of United come the Manchester derby on 30 April. But even that relies on United making mistakes and City winning all their games, which is far from a given.

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