The last few weeks have seen Manchester United be eliminated from the Champions League and the Carling Cup, but Unitedís Premier League title hopes are very much intact, with City only two points ahead after the latest round of fixtures.
However, United face a number of tough matches over the next month-plus that will determine just how rosy their title chances are looking heading into the final few months of the season. Also, the big boys begin their participation in the FA Cup next month, and United have what is undoubtedly the tie of the third round.
Manchester City Away in the FA Cup
United and City are the top two favorites to lift the FA Cup, but one will end the otherís FA Cup dream in the third round, as the archrivals are set to face off at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, 8 January. Man Utd tickets are always in high demand no matter the opponent, but the latest edition of the Manchester derby is sure to be a must-see match.
Last season, the two faced off in the FA Cup semifinals, with City claiming a 1-0 win by virtue of Yaya Toureís second-half goal. This season, United and City have already faced off twice, and the results of those two matches are a reason why the third showdown will be so highly anticipated. In the Community Shield in August, United stunningly rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit, with Naniís injury-time winner giving United a 3-2 victory. However, itís United who will be out for revenge at the Etihad Stadium next month, after City embarrassed United 6-1 at Old Trafford in October.
Since then, Manchester United are an unbeaten 6-1-0 in the league and have posted five clean sheets in those seven matches, and post-Basel, United have really kicked things up a notch, producing quality performances in back-to-back wins over Wolves and QPR. If they are still in excellent form heading into this tie, no one should bet against them to at least somewhat make amends for that defeat in October.
Arsenal Away in the Premier League
Speaking of revenge, Arsenal will be out for it when they host United on Sunday, 22 January.
When they last met, United dispatched the Gunners 8-2 at Old Trafford in August, with Wayne Rooney leading the way with a hat trick. Arsene Wengerís side is much better shape than it was at that time, as they were on an eight-match unbeaten run prior to Sundayís defeat at City, and this match stands to be far more competitive than that previous meeting.
That being said, United have dominated this rivalry lately, holding a 9-2-2 edge in the last 13 meetings, and theyíll be backing themselves to continue that dominance in next monthís meeting at the Emirates.
Newcastle Away in the Premier League
The matches at City and Arsenal are the headliners in January, without a doubt, but United also face a tricky tie at Newcastle on Wednesday, 4 January, which will be their first match of 2012.
In their last two matches against the Magpies, United have been held to draws thanks in no small part to superb performances by keeper Tim Krul, and heíll be aiming to do the same once again when United visit Sports Direct Arena.
Newcastle started the season with an 11-match unbeaten streak, but theyíve struggled as of late, going winless in their last five matches to date. But United will need to bring their best to get three points from this clash, as one can expect Alan Pardewís side to come with the same toughness and confidence that has helped them leave United frustrated and disappointed at the end of the last two meetings.
Manchester United Tickets in 2012
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