Allied with Manchester United and Leicester City dropping points, Manchester City’s 4-1 victory over Liverpool on Sunday afternoon puts them in range of another Premier League title.
Five points clear of United with a game in hand, signs are ominously in favour of a dominant Pep Guardiola team that is beginning to purr once more.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players, though, will not have given up hope of a title challenge.
With a huge Manchester derby on the horizon, the title race is not over just yet.
United are also now five points clear of Liverpool. While they are undoubtedly looking ahead, it is important that they keep pace in the race for a top-four finish, too.
So, with that in mind, here are the next 10 fixtures for the current top-four teams.
Manchester United fixtures
Feb 14: West Brom (A)
Feb 21: Newcastle (H)
Feb 28: Chelsea (A)
Mar 6: Man City (A)
Mar 13: West Ham (H)
Mar 20: Crystal Palace (A)
Apr 3: Brighton (H)
Apr 10: Spurs (A)
Apr 17: Burnley (H)
Apr 24: Leeds (A)
United have five games against bottom-half opposition in the next 10 games. Three of those are at Old Trafford. They must take 15 points from those games if they are to keep pace with City.
Meanwhile, a huge Manchester derby on March 6 is another must-win game. Should City win, they would move eight points clear with a game in hand, a likely unassailable lead given their current form.
Trips to Chelsea, Spurs and Leeds do not make this run of fixtures easy.
Add in the upcoming Europa League knockout stages and a gruelling Thursday-Sunday schedule that can result in awkward travel times and little rest for the players, and it’s easy to see how awkward the next period could be for United.
Man City fixtures
TBC: Southampton (H)
Feb 13: Spurs (H)
Feb 17: Everton (A)
Feb 21: Arsenal (A)
Feb 27: West Ham (H)
Mar 6: Man Utd (H)
Mar 13: Fulham (A)
Mar 20: Wolves (H)
Apr 3: Leicester City (A)
Apr 10: Leeds (H)
Like their neighbours, City also do not have the easiest run upcoming. Ordinarily, three matches against Spurs, Everton and Arsenal following a trip to Anfield would be a daunting prospect for most teams.
But in current form, it is difficult seeing City drop many points as they sweep through the opposition in pursuit of a third league title under Guardiola.
City do play two of the other three top-four teams in the next 10 fixtures. The Manchester derby has been a difficult contest for them of late and United will be raring to go.
Then, an April 3 contest against Leicester City is no easy task either, especially if the counter-attacking Foxes are close to their recent form.
City are the favourites for the title still, and if they beat United and Leicester, it could all be over far sooner than first thought.
Leicester City fixtures
Feb 13: Liverpool (H)
Feb 21: Aston Villa (A)
Feb 28: Arsenal (H)
Mar 6: Brighton (A)
Mar 13: Sheffield United (H)
Mar 20: Burnley (A)
Apr 3: Man City (H)
Apr 10: West Ham (A)
Apr 17: West Brom (H)
Apr 24: Crystal Palace (H)
Getting Jamie Vardy back into the fold will be vital for Brendan Rodgers’ team, especially with Liverpool on their way.
Saturday’s match against the Reds could see Leicester establish themselves as favourites for a top-four position and maybe even a title challenge.
They also face Man City and will have to win that match to keep pace at the top, while matches against Sheffield United, Burnley, West Brom and Crystal Palace offer the opportunity to stack some wins together.
Leicester were in this position last season and they faltered down the stretch. Can they make amends this time around?
Feb 13: Leicester City (A)
Feb 20: Everton (H)
Feb 28: Sheffield United (A)
Mar 6: Fulham (H)
Mar 13: Wolves (H)
Mar 20: Chelsea (H)
Apr 3: Arsenal (A)
Apr 10: Aston Villa (H)
Apr 17: Leeds (A)
Apr 24: Newcastle (H)
Fourth and five points behind United, Liverpool are in a tail-spin. They have lost three games in a row at Anfield, have scored just twice in their last five home matches, and have only two wins in their last nine league matches.
A Merseyside Derby follows the trip to Leicester. It is a difficult two-game run given their current form.
They also face a rejuvenated Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel, who may eye the Reds as a potential target in the top four, and awkward trips to Arsenal and Leeds.
More pertinently for Jurgen Klopp, however, will be the performances. Liverpool will need to improve, especially offensively, if they are to secure a top-four finish.
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Manchester United beat West Ham 1-0 in the FA Cup, thanks to Scott McTominay’s extra-time winner.
United sealed a spot in the cup quarter-finals with victory over David Moyes’ side at Old Trafford, and now they travel to West Brom in the league on Sunday.
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None of the quartet have especially easier or more difficult games than the others. But for all, it will be about maximising points against the bottom-half teams and performing at their peak against one another.
Leicester play City and Liverpool. City play United and Leicester. United play City and they will face Liverpool once more this season too. Each still have to face one another. In the end, those games will likely decide how the title race and top four unfolds.
We are reaching the most important stage of a turbulent and wild season, where every game has immense pressure on it.
With such importance on every game, the next 10 will very likely see whether a title challenge can be mounted and who is in position to finish in the Champions League spots.