Manchester United can take a giant stride towards the title this evening if they overcome Blackburn Rovers, after another eventful weekend for their City neighbours.
Roberto Mancini's side only tend to give the impression of being a team when things are going well, and things have not being going well for quite a while now. Yes, they salvaged a draw after trailing Sunderland 1-3 at home, but even in scoring two of his side's three goals Mario Balotelli could not escape controversy.
Sometimes you just have to ask whether the talent is worth the hassle. Elsewhere, Yaya Toure has been scowling around the pitch for weeks, David Silva's first season in England has caught up with him, Kun Aguero is allergic to something or other and the wheels seem to be falling off.
Kenny Dalglish knows all about that feeling. While he might yet preside over two cup triumphs, in the league his men have been awful ” in sharp contrast to their conquerors yesterday, Newcastle Utd.
We all had a little chuckle when Alan Pardew landed the manager's job at St James„Park (it's what it was called in those days) after bumping into Mike Ashley in a casino, but he has done a fantastic job. Yesterday was always going to be a tale of two number 9s, and most observers would have predicted that the game would pan out in the way it did. But Andy Carroll still has Royal Ascot to look forward to in the summer, so all is not lost.
Spurs remembered how to win a league game as they overcame Swansea at White Hart Lane. Their 3-1 victory coupled with Arsenal's surprise defeat at QPR the day before means that the battle for 3rd place is now down to goal difference.
That battle might yet include Chelsea, whose resurgence under Roberto di Matteo continued at Villa Park. Chelsea surrendered a two-goal lead only to emphatically restore it, Fernando Torres putting the seal on victory. He's starting to resemble a confident striker who used to play for Liverpool a few seasons ago.
Roger Johnson had another afternoon to forget for Wolves as Terry Connor's Championship-bound team battered Bolton in the first half only to somehow lose. Johnson will be fine, though ” he'll probably move to another struggling Premiership club when his current employers fall through the trap door.
Wigan's charge to avoid the drop seemed futile a few weeks ago but they have a bit of momentum now, and followed up their impressive win at Anfield with a solid victory over Stoke this time around. They missed countless chances ” as they have done all season ” but put away the two that mattered in the end.
When we talk about Spain, we tend to rattle on about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo ” and with very good reason. However, this week, Karim Benzema deserves special mention. The man with a 50-pence piece for a head produced a stunning volley from Ronaldo's cross for one of the great goals of the season to set Madrid en route to a 5-1 victory at Osasuna.