Barclays Premier League Title Race-  Season 2011/12
Part Two of Two: January to May
Photo Gallery

 

 

By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor 

 

 

Manchester United passed up the ideal opportunity to leapfrog rivals City into top spot in the Premier League after suffering a shock 3-2 home defeat by Blackburn Rovers on New Years Eve as boss Ferguson celebrated his 70th birthday 

 

 

Manchester City's winless streak away from home extended to four games as Ji Dong-Won's stoppage time winner for Sunderland made it a bad start to the New Year for the Blues- who still hold top spot on goal difference only as both clubs lost in the same round of games for the first time this season

 

 

James Milner dispatches the late spotkick with true composure for City as they make easy work of beating Liverpool as their first home game of 2012 ended in a 3-0 victory over the Reds which opened up a three point lead at the top of the league

 

  

The Red Devils suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since March 2009 in the Premier League as they were heavily beaten and outplayed by a determined Newcastle side to leave them three points behind in the title race   

 

 

On an important day of action in the title race on 22nd January, Manchester came out on top against North London as substitute Mario Balotelli's stoppage time penalty gave City a crucial 3-2 win in an enthralling match against Tottenham to open up a six point gap over rivals United

 

 

Danny Welbeck (pictured above left) netted the winning goal for Manchester United in the 84th minute to give them an important 2-1 victory over the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium to cut City's lead at the top to just three points

 

 

Former United midfielder Darron Gibson does his old side a massive favour as he scores his first goal for new club Everton to humble the league leaders on their bogey ground. Coupled with United's victory over Stoke, City now lead the title only on goal difference going into February

 

 

A dubious penalty from Sergio Aguero, a Chris Baird own goal and a tap-in from Edin Dzeko gave Manchester City a routine 3-0 victory over Fulham in the snowy conditions at the Etihad Stadium to move three points ahead of United in the first week of February

 

 

One of the most dramatic games of the season occurred at Stamford Bridge where substitute Javier Hernandez (pictured above) headed a late equaliser for Manchester United to salvage a 3-3 draw having come from three goals behind to keep them firmly in contention to retain their league crown

 

 

A week later, United moved to the top of the table as they claimed all three points in an ill-tempered game against Liverpool which was overshadowed by the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra race row with Wayne Rooney scoring a brace in a 2-1 triumph

 

  

While the following day, Manchester City returned to the summit of the Premier League as Joleon Lescott hooked in the only goal in a hard-fought 1-0 win at Aston Villa  

 

 

In March, Manchester City lost momentum in the title race as Luke Moore headed the winner for the Swans which meant the Blues lost their Premier League lead for the first time in five months as United picked up three points with a 2-0 win over West Brom

 

 

On 18th March, Manchester United established a four point lead at the top of the Premier League after sweeping aside ten-man Wolves with a mind-blowing 5-0 victory at Molineux with City having to wait to play due to next opponents Chelsea's FA Cup participation

 

 

Sergio Aguero (pictured above) scored the equaliser from the penalty spot as City come from behind to beat Chelsea- who were left clinging on to hopes of finishing in the top four- as United's four point lead at the top was reduced to one point 

 

 

However, City couldn't follow up the result as a wonder goal from Peter Crouch helped Stoke City to secure a 1-1 draw as the Blues slip up but return to the top of the Premier League due to their vastly superior goal difference over United- who returned to the top after a 1-0 win over Fulham on Monday night.

 

 

United led the Premier League by five points come the end of the month as City's 100% home record came to an end as a 3-3 draw against Sunderland meant consecutive draws for Mancini's side- while United took advantage of another slip-up by their rivals by overcoming Blackburn 2-0 at Ewood Park

 

 

Wayne Rooney's goalscoring exploits at home continued as he tucked away a contentious spotkick in the first half to see United over the line against Queens Park Rangers while Scholes settled the nerves by adding a second after half-time  

 

 

Mikel Arteta produced a cracking effort with three minutes to go to seemingly hammer the final nail in Manchester City's title challenging coffin as Arsenal took the spoils to leave City trailing their rivals by eight points on 8th April with six games left 

 

 

Wigan earned their first ever Premier League victory over Manchester United to throw a huge spoke in the Red Devils' chase for the title as the gap was cut to five points at the top of the table as Manchester City comprehensively beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0  

 

 

To everyone's amazement, Manchester United threw away a two-goal lead twice as Everton fought back in a pulsating 4-4 draw at Old Trafford which blew the title race wide open as City beat Wolves 2-0 later in the day to move within three points of their rivals at the top 

 

 

In the massive Manchester derby on 30th April dubbed as the ultimate title decider in the two rivals' second PL meeting of the season, a tense battle was settled by a powerful header by Vincent Kompany as City won 1-0 to move to the top of the Premier League on goal difference with two games left to claw back an eight-point deficit in the space of three weeks 

 

 

Yaya Toure scored a vital double as Manchester City had one hand on the Premier League trophy after defeating Newcastle at St James Park to leave them three points away from lifting the title while United moved level on points with the Blues following their 2-0 victory over Swansea later in the day 

 

 

On an emotionally charged final day of the season, the title race went down to the final minutes as Manchester City scored twice in injury time to snatch the title from their rivals to beat QPR 3-2 and win their first Premier League crown in an incredible climax to the campaign at the Etihad Stadium; while United players look dejected as they trot off the pitch having beat Sunderland 1-0 and thought they had won the league

 

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