City fans may still be smarting from their winless exit from the Champions League Group of Death—and subsequent lack of invitation to the Europa League—but their failure will surely be an asset in the domestic title race.
It could be argued that Man City lost their lead in the title race last season due to a crowded fixture list.
From mid-February, they played four Europa League matches in less than a month, with three league fixtures sandwiched in between.
Having crashed out of the Capital One Cup five months ago, all City must worry about now is a fifth-round FA Cup tie with Leeds in a few weeks and the 13 remaining league matches.
United, on the other hand, have an FA Cup match with Reading on their plate and the not-insignificant prospect of a pair of Champions League matches with Real Madrid.
A few days after the second leg, Sir Alex Ferguson's men must head to Upton Park, a stadium at which they have only won three times in their last seven attempts.
Manchester United have shown they know how to concurrently handle European and domestic campaigns, but City's lack of high-pressure European Cup fixtures can only be an advantage.