"As a team, I think it's going to be without doubt the most important game we've ever played in."
As said above by Pablo Zabaleta, this could be without doubt the most crucial game Manchester City have ever, and will ever, play. Their future lies on the line. Win today at home to Queens Park Rangers and the Premier League title is theirs; fail to win and Manchester United are victorious at Sunderland and it could be the most crushing result of their history. Without a title since 1968, the same year United first won The European Cup, the blue side of the city has never been so hopeful of ending the 44 years of hurt.
Despite being underwhelming underdogs, United will be hopeful of securing a 20th league title. With so much at stake they are relying on the Blues to buckle under the pressure against relegation battling QPR today. The 'Rs' know that a point will all but confirm safety for them, while Sunderland have almost nothing to play for sitting comfortably in 11th place.
After being eight points clear in the title race just weeks ago, the Red Devils are sure to be kicking themselves for letting that lead slip. Defeats to Wigan and City, as well as a 4-4 draw with Everton have left United wondering what might have been. The return of Carlos Tevez has been crucial to Mancini's team's return to form with four goals including a hat-trick against Norwich. Manchester City's reaction to losing their lead has been admirable but nothing but a win today will suffice.
Another twist in the tale is the revisiting of former City boss Mark Hughes to the Etihad Stadium. After being sacked so acrimoniously by owner Sheikh Mansour he will be desperate for revenge to keep QPR up and help old team United win the league. However The Citizens will have other ideas and will be confident of sweeping the relegation candidates aside after dropping just two points at home in the league all season. Last year they ended a 35-year wait for a trophy with a 1-0 win over Stoke City in the FA Cup final and now are fingertips away from winning the biggest domestic trophy if them all.
Considering they have won 6-1 and 1-0 against United this campaign City will feel a title victory over their old rivals is justified. Manager Roberto Mancini said: "We have played the better football, 100%, even if we don't win, we played the better football."
Following last weeks impressive success over Champions League chasing Newcastle United people may think that City have the title in the bag. But on the other hand Manchester United have won 12 Premier Leagues under Sir Alex Ferguson and have plenty of experience in Ryan Giggs, 38 and Paul Scholes, 37. United have been there and done that; but despite this it might just be City's year.