Picking through City's Easter Monday defeat to Crystal Palace... five talking points from the loss at Selhurst Park.
Away day blues…
City’s run to the Premier League crown last season picked up unstoppable momentum at Selhurst Park where Manuel Pellegrini’s men won 2-0 on the day Liverpool slipped up against Chelsea.
In 2013/14, it was the improvement in the team’s results away from home which paved the way for the ultimately successful title challenge but 12 months on, our away form has fallen away significantly in the second half of the campaign.
The 2-1 loss to Alan Pardew’s side was the champions’ fourth-successive defeat on the road, following slip-ups at Liverpool, Burnley and Barcelona.
It’s City’s worst run of away form since April 2009.
"I don't want to use excuses about the referee. It is someone else's job to analyse the referee. It is not the manager's duty.” – Manuel Pellegrini.
City’s manager refused to blame Michael Oliver or his assistants for the defeat in South London despite two highly debatable decisions going against his side.
In the first case, Scott Dann was in an offside position before taking the shot which led to the opening goal and, in the second, City were denied a second half penalty for, what looked like, a handball by Glenn Murray from Fernandinho’s deflected shot.
Pellegrini was convinced that his team should have won the game in spite of their ill fortune due to the sheer number of chances created but City were enjoying their best spell in the game before Palace’s goal against the run of play.
Possession isn’t everything…
It’s been three years since an away team had as much possession in a Premier League match as City had last night.
The champions had 74% of the ball and racked up 22 shots on goal but only four of them called Eagles goalkeeper Julian Speroni into action.
On so many occasions, Palace seemed to have a man on hand to make the blocks as the home side defended for their lives for much of the second half.
Apart from Yaya Toure’s 78th minute goal, despite the intensity of the pressure and the amount of the ball they enjoyed, the away side never came as close to scoring as they did through Sergio Aguero’s first half shot which hit the post.
City also enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in their defeats at Burnley and Liverpool too, proving that possession is not always the most important factor.
Race for the Champions League…
Although Pellegrini refused to concede the title in his post-match interview, City are now nine points behind Chelsea having played a game more.
It would take a mini-footballing miracle for that lead to be overturned by the champions with just seven games remaining but, at the very least, the team must fight to stay in the Champions League positions.
On paper at least, City’s run-in looks favourable when compared with their rivals.
United have to play against us and Arsenal, as well as Chelsea, while Arsenal also host Jose Mourinho’s side on 26 April, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for the teams around us to take points off one another.
Liverpool are still seven points behind City in fifth place and, while they still have a number of winnable games left, they must also visit Stamford Bridge.
And so onto Sunday's 169th Manchester derby.
It might not feel like it right now but perhaps this is a good time to face our old rivals.
City will arrive at Old Trafford with plenty to prove against a side which has won five straight games.
Tis the season of “six pointers” and every match being a “cup final”, so what better incentive for a fifth-successive derby win than the chance to move back above Louis van Gaal’s side in the table?
That's the opinion of Vincent Kompany, who said: "“If anything, it’s a good moment to go into a derby.
"I guess the momentum is a little bit with our neighbours at the moment, but it’s the perfect place for us to go and try to rectify what we’ve had.”