By Shane Barrow
With the Boxing Day fixtures in the books, it is clearly a two horse race for the English Premier League title. Barring a double collapse it is going to be a Manchester spring.
Manchester City and Manchester United will end 2011 both on 45 points and well clear of any challengers. Only Tottenham can get into range as they sit ten points back, but have a pair of games in hand. If the Spurs can win both games in hand they'll only trail by four points. Few really think Tottenham have the depth to run down both the Manchester sides though.
Thanks to Clint Dempsey's equalizer Chelsea is all but out of the race as they sit a whopping eleven points behind the leaders. Chelsea will be left to hang their hats on the Champions League run for the spring. That will determine the fate of head coach Andre Villas-Boas. Arsenal and Liverpool are left with only hopes of trying to get into a four spot for next year's Champions League.
Manchester United ran over a poor Wigan side on Boxing Day as Sir Alex Ferguson was able to rest a few regulars. Little used Dimitar Berbatov emerged from the bench to notch a hat trick in the 5-0 victory. Meanwhile, Manchester City were shutout for the first time in 18 EPL matches as they slipped to a scoreless draw against a gritty West Brom side.
The results leave the two sides even on points with City holding a five goal advantage in differential. Next up for United is a home match with lowly Blackburn while City travel to Sunderland.
Get more great analysis over at Soccer Mogul.