Nevertheless, the Reds played with professionalism and pride and won comfortably against the Swans with Paul Scholes scoring his fourth goal since coming out of retirement thanks to a clever flick. Ashley Young doubled the lead before the interval with a typically classy finish but any hopes of chiselling away at City's superior goal difference proved misplaced as a scoreless second half unfolded.
So the mood was largely one of resignation rather than expectation ahead of the journey to Sunderland, with City facing relegation candidates QPR at home, but Wayne Rooney's close-range effort at least put pressure on Roberto Mancini's side.
Remarkably, Mark Hughes' Rangers overturned a Pablo Zabaleta goal to lead at the Etihad but their task had been made even more difficult by Joey Barton's sending off. With the woodwork thwarting Rooney's attempts to make the points safe at the Stadium of Light, the tension became unbearable.
Eden Dzeko finally broke through in stoppage time at the Etihad Stadium and QPR wilted with Sergio Aguero's winner a dagger through the heart of all United fans. There was despair in the away end on Wearside as the home fans lapped up the cruel late twist to the title race but the work to wrestle the trophy back will have started seconds after the final whistle.
Goal of the month - Young v Swansea
There were obviously only three contenders but this was probably the pick of them. Showing his usual eye for goal with a curling finish beyond Michel Vorm, this was a top-class strike from the winger and