x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Manchester, either way

Manchester City enter the final day of Premier League play today the overwhelming favourites to be crownded champs of England. But every match is 90 minutes long. No one will rest until the final whistle.

The organisers of the Premier League could not have scripted a better finale to the 2011/12 season. The two best teams in England, Manchester City and Manchester United, are level on points as the season goes into its last matchday tonight. But by 8pm UAE time, one of these two great rivals will be champions of England.

Manchester City, a club reborn since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed purchased it in 2008, are favourites. They hold an eight-goal advantage over United, and a win against Queens Park Rangers should ensure their first title since 1968, barring a mathematical miracle elsewhere.

Adding more spice to the occasion, if any were needed, is the fact that QPR's manager happens to be one Mark Hughes, the man that the current City manager Roberto Mancini replaced halfway through the 2009/10 season. While Hughes will surely claim that keeping his team from relegation - which looms ominously - is all that matters, denying his old club the championship would no doubt bring him a sense of personal satisfaction too. No one at City, not least Mancini, will take the result for granted.

Manchester City are certainly the stronger side, but every match is 90 minutes long. After 44 years of being in the shadows of their great rivals, no fan of Manchester City will rest easy today.