Mario Balotelli, Manchester CityManchester United and Manchester City are level on points again almost halfway through the Premier League, but I still make the men in blue the favourites to win the title this season.
United have done really well to recover so far from that 6-1 defeat earlier in the campaign. That cannot have been easy. I remember when United lost 5-1 to City at Maine Road back in 1989 — that result stayed with us for a long time before we finally laid it to rest.
Once you saw that derby scoreline in October, most of us, if we're being honest, predicted the league would become a one-horse race. At that point Manchester United were five points behind and stuttering.
So you have to credit this Manchester United side, who many dismiss as being one of the more average to grace Old Trafford in recent times, for the way they have come back to now sit behind City only on goal difference. City have been hailed for playing great football this season — so United can't be doing too badly to have scored as many points.
But City's strength in depth is why I think it is still why the title is theirs to lose.
United have the edge in experience in title races, of course, and there's lots of players in the squad with the know-how you need at the end of a season.
The trouble, though, is so much of that experience is on the sidelines, and even if key players come back they could easily be rushed into action too quickly with lots of crunch games ahead.
I still believe that United need a big-name signing in January to give the team the confidence boost to push on in 2012. Fergie says he won't be panic-buying, and he's not the kind of man to buy someone in January that he hasn't scouted thoroughly. But he also keeps his cards close to his chest on transfers. We'll have to wait and see.
City don't have those problems and they don't need to spend. With that in mind, I was disappointed that Mancini complained about the scheduling after the draw at West Brom.
They play two games in 48 hours (away to Sunderland on New Year's Day and home to Liverpool on Jan 3), while United have four days between their next two games.
It's a bit of bad luck, but that's all it is. And besides, it's the reason they have such an extensive squad.
Negativity from Mancini is unnecessary, and for me it's a reminder that with a couple of bad results City's season could still unravel.
Vincent Kompany came out and criticised the Manchester City attack for not getting the goals in the draw at the Hawthorns. Maybe it was overblown but you shouldn't risk saying things that could even possibly be misconstrued as an attack on your team-mates — and sometimes you should just give credit to the opposition for a job well done.
Lots of people don't feel comfortable with the money Manchester City have spent turning themselves into challengers, and while they're earning credit for the way they are performing on the pitch, I think there's work to be done before they earn that same credit off the field. Moaning doesn't help.
It's shaping up to be a fascinating 2012, though, and the littlest of things could make all the difference. You can bet neither Manchester club will be under-strength when they go head-to-head in the FA Cup on January 8.