Manchester United now hold a 15-point lead in the English Premier League competition with only nine fixtures remaining, and given their incredible performances throughout the year, it seems almost impossible that Sir Alex Ferguson's men would surrender such a lead in 2013.
City's chance at defending their league title is as good as gone—much like their chances in other competitions throughout the year.
Eliminated from the Capital One Cup in a shock defeat; eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the group stage without a win to their name; and now seemingly out of the Premier League title race—it really hasn't been the season that Roberto Mancini no doubt dreamed of having.
Yet City will hang to a glimmer of hope—their only remaining glimmer of hope—at winning a title in 2013 when they do battle in the FA Cup next month.
It's their only remaining chance at a title and the only thing City have left to play for in 2013. And as a result, you can expect the English champions to come out firing—desperate to prove to the league that they are still the best team in England.
As much as their performances this year would suggest otherwise.
Mancini has won the FA Cup with City before—beating Stoke City 1-0 in 2011—and he'll be looking to do the same again in 2013. After all, the Italian manager has very little else to play for this season, and could well be gunning for his future at the Etihad with success in the FA Cup.
However this year, the opposition City will face are significantly tougher than back in 2011.
Their opponent in the semifinal will be the winner of Manchester United and Chelsea—both of whom have taken points off City this year. Both of those clubs have as much, if not more to play for than City in the semifinal, and will thus represent a very difficult opponent indeed.
Sir Alex Ferguson will be striving toward a league-cup double whilst Rafa Benitez will be desperate to earn something from his time at the Blues. They have as much ambition and need to win the FA Cup as their opponents will, regardless of how passionate City may be for success.
There's no doubting that City can compete with those two teams as we've seen throughout the year, and there's little doubting that they could come away with the win.
The question it seems—as it has been for Manchester City all season—is how much they are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve a trophy this year. For unless it is everything, as United and Chelsea will surely attest to, they could very well end up winning nothing in 2013.
Everton were simply more determined and more organized than their opponents in the Premier League on the weekend, and they won through as a result. City cannot allow the same thing to happen in the FA Cup this year; at least, not if they want to gain a title in 2013—the year that had promised to be so much for the defending champions in both England and European competitions.
City will come out firing in their FA Cup semifinal, whoever their opponent might be, and it will no doubt make for one of the more memorable fixtures in 2013. Yet with the way Mancini's men have played this year, you still have to wonder whether that will be enough to beat United or Chelsea.
I guess we'll find out soon enough.
Can Manchester City win the FA Cup this year?
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