It must have been a difficult decision to start with the England striker on the bench, considering he had starred in the FA Cup third-round triumph at the same venue a few months earlier. Welbeck eventually came on for Ji-sung Park just before the hour mark but his impact was severely hampered by Nigel De Jong's yellow-card foul.
The narrow reverse at the Etihad Stadium proved costly in the title run-in and when asked if he felt the Reds' approach to the crunch fixture was too cautious, Sir Alex replied: "Well, I think there was a caution to it in the sense I should have played Welbeck, without doubt. But Ji-sung Park was important with the player's record of playing in big games. I always played him in these big games and he'd always been brilliant but he never quite found the role in that particular match to suit him."
Welbeck is again in the manager's thoughts ahead of the top-of-the-table tussle with the champions and is in contention for a wide slot on Sunday.
"We’re not really short in midfield," asserted the boss. "We’ve got Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. It’s not too bad. I can play Wayne Rooney in there. But I am looking at how I can fill the wide positions as it's a bit of a problem. Welbeck can play wide and is a definite option for me.
"I’ll maybe go for experience on Sunday because it’s been well documented that City don’t lose games at home. They're unbeaten at home for two years which is fantastic but hopefully we can get a solution as to how to operate in the game."