I haven't written a FanPost for this site before so I'll do a quick introduction. My name is John and I've been a United fan since I spent a year in the UK back in college in 2003. I grew up playing soccer in the US but never knew much about international footy until the 1994 World Cup. I didn't really start following the EPL until I spent a year abroad in the UK. That was the year Arsenal went undefeated, and given my ignorance of English Football history I considered Manchester United to be a plucky, fun underdog to root for. As I learned the history of the club and especially as I became enamored of Ferguson and the squad (esp. Scholes and Van Nistelrooy) I started to become a real fan. Now that I have discovered the joys of online streaming I watch every game I can!
Anyways, in response to the win yesterday I started to look seriously at United's chances of winning the league. For these projections, I'll assume each team will win the games they should, though we all know everyone will inevitably drop points with shock draws or losses. Obviously the win over Tottenham was huge. The win probably knocked Tottenham out of title contention, though their remaining schedule is not very difficult. Here are the remaining games for Tottenham (currently 53pts):
Assuming that Spurs can regain their previous form, I'd say they can reasonably hope to get 27 points or so, putting them at 80. As you'll see next, that is well short of title contention. Now let's look at United (currently 64pts).
West Brom, @ Wolves, Fulham, @ Rovers, QPR, @ Wigan, Villa, Everton, @ City, Swansea, @ Sunderland.
Now that is an appetizing schedule for the 2nd place team. The only games which worry me at all are Fulham, Everton, @ City, and maybe @ Sunderland to finish the season. Dropping points is always possible but for this scenario I'll assume United play well (as they should). It's not unreasonable to assume United will win their next 7 games before the Everton match. Call that one a draw, City a draw, and United can realistically hope for 29 points from a possible 33, finishing up at 93. Now for City:
@ Swansea, Chelsea, @ Stoke, Sunderland, @ Arsenal, West Brom, @ Norwich, @ Wolves, United, @ Newcastle, QPR.
Those first 5 games will not be easy. The Swans are usually excellent at home, but we'll call that a win for City. Draw to Chelsea at home, win the next two, lose at Arsenal, then win until United. Draw them, draw at Newcastle, and beat QPR to finish up. Sound reasonable? They would finish with 24 points, giving them 90 points and 2nd place. Even beating Chelsea would leave them short.
So it is not unreasonable to hope United will win the league. It is even possible that they could be considered favorites. Now let's play with projections a little. Let's say City beat United in the rematch, and that they handle Chelsea at home. That bumps them up to 94 points with the other results I've mentioned. If we assume City will beat Chelsea at home, United should beat Everton at home, bumping them up to 95 points.Still United are the Champs.
I'd bet that the Champion will be the team that handles the moderately difficult games the best. Contrary to most of what I read, I don't think the City vs. United game is even that important. It is certainly the single most important game left, but it doesn't overshadow the other results taken together. I'd rate United as having 9 easy games, 1 moderate game, and 1 hard game. City have 5 easy games, 3 moderate games, and 3 hard games. With the remaining schedule, City probably have to win all of their moderately difficult games, and if they do that I'd have to say they are deserved Champions.
In conclusion, City have hardly looked as unstoppable as they did early in the season, and their road form since mid-November is truly awful. They have only won 2 road games in 7 chances, both times winning 1-0 against awful teams (Villa and Wigan). It is very possible that they will drop points at Swansea, Stoke, Arsenal, and Newcastle, even if they thump everyone else at home. In contrast, over that same time period United have been outstanding on the road, winning 7 out of 9, drawing once and losing once. If not for that abysmal Blackburn loss at home, United would be on top of the league. I truly don't expect United to even need a result against City to win the league. What do you guys think?