Roberto Mancini knows that all his side need to do is win at home against relegation-threatened QPR and the Premier League title will be theirs. Manchester City have not won the top-flight title for 44 years and will look to cap off a memorable campaign in front of their home fans.
The Etihad Stadium is set to be buzzing for what could be a momentous day as far as Manchester City’s future goes. Mancini’s side are level on points with arch rivals Manchester United, but their superior goal difference means that a win will give them the title no matter what the Red Devils do. City fans must have feared the worst after their early April defeat to Arsenal, which saw them slip eight points behind United, but that lead has been slashed after Vincent Kompany’s header gave City all three points in the Manchester derby.
City picked up another valuable three points against Newcastle thanks to Yaya Toure’s brace and the Ivorian international celebrates his birthday today. Mancini is expected to retain the same system as last week at the Sports Direct Arena, which saw Nigel de Jong’s midfield anchoring skills let Toure push on and score the winner. Mario Balotelli has not featured since his red card away at the Emirates Stadium, but could be in contention to feature against QPR.
Rangers boss Mark Hughes has unfinished business with City and will be looking to do former boss Sir Alex Ferguson a favour by stopping Mancini’s title celebrations. Hughes was replaced by the Italian in 2009 and travels to the Etihad Stadium, knowing that his side are still threatened by the drop back to the Championship. QPR only need a point to survive, which would be enough for Ferguson if his side can pick up three points away at Sunderland.
Hughes has never lost as a manager away at City in the Premier League, but could be without a trio of key midfielders in Samba Diakite, Shaun Derry and Akos Buzsaky. Diakite is struggling with a virus, Derry has suffered from a dead leg and Buzsaky has a hamstring problem. The QPR boss is hopeful all three will recover in time and will rely on Djibril Cisse to provide the goals that will be able to keep Rangers in the top flight. Cisse has either scored or been sent off in the seven appearances he has made since his January move from Lazio and Hughes will be hoping that the record will continue, but for goals and not red cards.
Manchester will be buzzing ahead of this crucial fixture and the City fans will be in party atmosphere hopeful of pipping United to the title. A monumental tussle of a season comes down to one game and City should surely have enough to dispatch QPR and end the season undefeated at home, dropping just two points at the Etihad. Rangers will be up for the battle, but an early goal from City will kill the game and bring glory to the blue half of the city.
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