Manchester City’s inconsistent form hasn’t seen them lose a grip on the title, and it’s still all to play for as we head into the crucial part of the Premier League season.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have won just four of their 10 away games, a record which has seen them fail to assert their themselves at the top of the table.
But their results at home have been excellent, and with their away calendar set to be far easier between now and the end of the season, they will feel quietly confident they can end the season on top.
Here are five key fixtures that will go a long way in determining their chances of success.
Leicester City | Home | February 6
This season’s surprise package are yet to be swatted away from the top of the table, but City have a chance to damage their title chances when they host them at the Etihad Stadium next month.
Leicester City have been wonderful to watch. Possession isn’t important to them—moving forward at pace when they win the ball, with a directness that’s difficult to combat, has been the key to their success thus far.
City drew 0-0 with the Foxes at the King Power Stadium. It was another frustrating away day, and they will be desperate to demonstrate their quality in front of their own fans.
Tottenham Hotspur | Home | February 14
The following weekend, City host another current top-four side: Tottenham Hotspur.
City suffered their heaviest defeat of the Mansour era when they lost 4-1 at White Hart Lane earlier in the season, a defeat that hurt Pellegrini and his team.
With Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Cristian Eriksen, there’s plenty in this Tottenham side that can hurt City.
Mauricio Pochettino is moulding a young, exciting side, but one which is also organised and focused. They're most un-Tottenham like at the moment.
They will provide a stern test.
Manchester United | Home | March 19
Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United side have been so uninspiring for much of the season, they don’t feel like title contenders, yet their win at Liverpool at the weekend saw them move to within seven points of leaders Arsenal.
This game comes just three days after City’s Champions League home game with Dynamo Kiev. It has the potential to be a difficult afternoon.
Wayne Rooney is finding some form, and there have been signs of some team spirit developing again in the past few games.
Chelsea | Away | April 16
It's been a difficult season for Chelsea, but by the time this game comes around, they could have little to play for.
It's unlikely they will drag themselves back into the race for the top four—but it's equally unlikely they will be in the midst of a relegation battle. If that is the case, they'll play with added freedom.
Going to Stamford Bridge, with little pressure on the home side, would be a difficult game.
Arsenal | Home | May 7
Could it be a title decider?
City host Arsenal in the penultimate game of the league season in what may well be a vital 90 minutes.
Arsene Wenger’s side are currently top of the table, one point ahead of City. These two sides currently look the strongest teams in the division, and it wouldn't be surprise if they were the top two come the end of the season.
Arsenal beat City in the game at the Emirates Stadium in December, despite the Blues looking comfortable for much of the game.
Could it be a similar occasion to the game in 2012 against Manchester United three games before the end of the season?
City fans will hope not. That was one of the tensest matches they've ever watched their team play.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2015/16 season. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @RobPollard_.