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City knock United off the top

Manchester City secured a slender victory over neighbours United with a goal from their captain Vincent Kompany. The win puts them top of the Premier League on goal difference.

City deserved their victory, and can now guarantee the title by winning their final two games. The opposing managers each took pains to suggest that the other team had the advantage in the last two matches of the season.

Asked who were favourites, City manager Roberto Mancini was clear. "United," he said. "They have the easier games. They play against Swansea and Sunderland. At this moment it will be easier for United. We have two strong games against Newcastle and QPR. One plays for Champions League and one plays relegation."

Sir Alex Ferguson, the mind-games specialist, disagreed, claiming City held the advantage. "Yes, I think they are in the driving seat now," he said. "They only need to win two games of football. It is not over yet. As long as there are games to play it is not over."

Ferguson packed the midfield in the hopes of stifling City’s attacking threat, but that option failed once Kompany had scored. "We played better and deserved to win," Mancini said, "but it was difficult because they had so many behind the ball."

An unexciting match was enlivened by a ludicrous touchline dispute between Ferguson and Mancini in the second half. Flapping their hands at each other to suggest too much talking to the referee, the managers actually appeared to be debating with imaginary glove-puppets.

Mancini was grinning about it after the match. Ferguson was not smiling.

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