Famed English writer Samuel Johnson once famously said that "when one is tired of London, one is tired of life." These days, in the case of Manchester City, you could add that "when one is tired of taking four points from away fixtures at Manchester United and Arsenal, one is tired of football." Some folks are never satisfied, however, meaning that City's point in Saturday's 1-1 draw at the Emirates against Arsenal has been greeted in some slightly impatient quarters as two points dropped.
How far we have traveled in such short time.
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Johnson's famous utterance actually has an epithet: "... for there is in London all that life can afford." With City not only outspending the old aristocrats of Islington, but also whipping a selection of their best players (all roundly booed on their return, as is the custom in these parts), one could say that it is actually toward Manchester that one must cast one's gaze these days if one wants to see what life can afford.
City, with the riches of David Silva ticking away expensively in midfield, took to their task at Arsenal with the same gusto that they had displayed at Old Trafford in midweek. The swift interchanging of passes, the ever-available runners, the switching of positions bewildered the home side just as it had taken the wind out of United's sails right from the off. But Arsenal are a more refined beast than Manchester United these days, and even with a host of recognised first-teamers absent, they mounted a courageous and persuasive second-half assault.
City survived thanks to some stout defending and a little luck. When Martin Demichelis, once again having an excellent game at the back, decided to allow a low cross to pass in front of his toe ends, instead of dispatching it into the crowd, disaster beckoned. The ball passed between his outstretched limb and goalkeeper Joe Hart's gloved hands and away to safety. It had been that close.
This enthralling title race has now tilted toward Liverpool. Each weekend now brings fresh angles and fresh casualties. This time London's finest have taken a dent. Arsenal's slim chances have now thinned even further, and with Chelsea damaging a fetlock in the crash at Crystal Palace, the prospect of a title showdown at Anfield between Liverpool and City raises its head.
One can only imagine the tumult surrounding that fixture in two weeks' time. That City must also hit the East Lancs Road to visit Goodison Park means that Merseyside will, after all, have a big and crucial say in the destination of this season's title. While these days we seem to love to react to the present as if it is all that matters, this title race surely has some twists and turns left in, with Liverpool still to host City and Chelsea and having more away games than home games to play.
So what did we learn from the Emirates? We had clear confirmation that Silva is in the form of his life, but that having Yaya Toure in cruise control mode alongside him pushes the burden of midfield authority to extravagant heights for the little Spaniard. We also had further evidence, as if it was needed, that Edin Dzeko's contribution will continue to fluctuate according to the position of the planets.
After displaying sublime finishing at Old Trafford, the Bosnian scuffed a great chance to put City 2-0 up past the post. It had come to him quickly and the ball bounced off his foot rather than it being foot to ball, but Arsenal equalised with the next meaningful attack of the match, showing how slim the difference can be between putting a game to bed and waking it up.
With the Kop already rolling out its rendition of "we're gonna win the league" with six games to go (eight for City), it would be foolish to predict what is going to happen. These days, in any case, putting a hatful of goals past Tottenham does not deliver sufficient reasons to start crowing, as the hapless North Londoners have shipped a total of 27 to top-four teams this season, including 11 to City in two games.
Needless to say, it is high time to start pouring over the fixtures lists and totting up the totals of the four clubs in the race. With Arsenal showing signs of battle fatigue, it may soon be cropped from a four- to a three-horse race. While City fans would not dream of jinxing a title run by singing about winning it at this stage, there is great reason to be optimistic. Liverpool will be the new title holders if they win all of their remaining fixtures, we are told, but lest it be forgotten among the pandemonium of premature excitement that the same goes for City. Rest assured, nobody is growing tired of this title race just yet.