However City continue to pick up points, while their rivals for the 4th place generally stumble. City are not contenders for the title, such talk was nonsense, but remain right in the thick of things. Yes wins against United, Birmingham and Stoke rather than draws would see City top, however the focus has to be on the Champions League place.
A tight defense, second only to Chelsea in fewest goals allowed, remains the foundation on which this club will build. Certainly more goals must come, both Blackpool and Newcastle have scored a greater number, but this is a work in progress and a very young team. Patience, in the face of the huge sums spent, needs to be the over riding factor.
Speaking of Blackpool I suspect Ian Holloway will be adjudged "naive" after his club lost a two goal advantage at Bolton. The flip side of course is that in going for a third goal while 2-0 up, Holloway would have well and truly killed the game off should the Seasiders have scored. Based on all the interviews I've seen of Holloway this season it seems to me that he's decided that Blackpool just don't have the defensive ability to defend against quality Premier League sides and therefore the only way to stand a chance of staying up is to constantly attack. The other team can't score if you have the ball and are attacking. He'll get caught out more than a few times doing this, but Blackpool will be, and are, a blast to watch.
That being said you do wonder how long Owen Coyle stays at Bolton. If the Arsenal or Liverpool job were to open, I'd tab him as the favourite for either opening. No, I'm not suggesting that Wenger should leave Arsenal, but you have to wonder at what point the lack of success necessitates a change for a club that demands winning.
Down towards the bottom you do have to wonder if David Moyes has reached his sell by date at Everton. I've always thought he was a good manager, but this early season slow start is becoming more than a habit for the Toffees. Three years ago I would have pegged Moyes as Old Purple Noses successor at United. Now I think it's even money whether the Everton manager is still at the club this time next year. There's also a very vocal and significant part of the Everton faithful who can't stand Moyes and his tactics. It's not going to take much to have them persuade the more silent majority.
Over at United... well what can you say? Berbatov is a good player, always has been. He just doesn't conform to the perceived ideal of running around constantly to show that you are making an effort. Probably not the best result for Sam Allardyce with new Indian owners at Rovers. New owners usually want their own man at a club, something Roy Hodgson is no doubt aware over at Liverpool, and therefore I doubt Big Sam will last long at the club.
The question of course is where does Allardyce go after this? Bolton was perfect, an unfancied side whose supporters would accept the long ball tactics because they were winning. And in some ways Allardyce is unfairly tagged with that. His Bolton sides could play good football when he had the right players added to the base squad. But how many fans will give the Blackburn manager time to get to that point? We all saw what happened at Newcastle where the style of play is as important as the result. It's hard to find clubs out there with the base resources that would be needed along with the patience. Wolves maybe, but such locations are few and far between.
Mark Hughes and Fulham find themselves one place above the relegation zone. This should not be a surprise. Hughes at Blackburn and City had the exact same start and given time he'll have them in the top ten next season.
It's a funny old Premier League when Sunderland can destroy Chelsea, and it wasn't even close, and then lose to Wolves. I suspect these kind of results will continue all the way until the end of the season.
At Upton Park probably the worst possible result for West Ham as they won, so Avram Grant keeps his job. At some point the owners are going to have to bite the bullet and replace Grant. To do otherwise is to see a team that talent wise should be mid table go down.
The Sunday games almost went perfectly for City. A draw at White Hart Lane would have been perfect, however Aaron Lennon continued the Spurs magic. Not the first time old 'Arry has done it to Liverpool at the death of course. Tottenham turned their season around and beat undefeated Liverpool via a last second Pavlyuchenko just after Redknapp joined the club.
Chelsea continued their troubled few weeks with a draw at Newcastle. A fully fit Chelsea squad is awfully good, but to a certain extent this was what I was alluding to at the start of the year when I suggested Chelsea could struggle. The depth has gone and while Deco, Ballack and Carvalho had each lost a step their ability to step into the side for a couple of games was invaluable.