File photo of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson hugging his Dutch striker Robin van Persie. (Reuters)
London: After spending weeks on the brink of a 20th English title, Manchester United can finally get the job done on Monday. Second-place Manchester City's late implosion in a 3-1 loss at Tottenham on Sunday means United can take the title from their neighbours by beating Aston Villa at Old Trafford, with nearly a month still remaining in the campaign.
Luis Suarez's late goal saw Chelsea drop two crucial points against Liverpool in the race for Champions League qualification, leaving the European champions a point behind Arsenal in fourth. Spurs' rousing comeback against City left them a point further back. Chelsea and Tottenham still have a game in hand.
While the top-four fight looks to be going to the wire, the race for the title is almost over. City had given up hope a month ago after a loss at Everton but by conceding three goals in seven minutes to slump to defeat at White Hart Lane, their fading chances dwindled even further.
"It was finished three or four weeks ago," City manager Roberto Mancini said. "They [United] are not a better team but they deserve to win this title because we lost a lot of points in games we probably didn't deserve to lose. I cannot believe we lost this game - we had it under control."
United are 13 points ahead of City with five games remaining.