Roberto Mancini’s side have led from the front since the season began in August, although Chris Smalling believes that City’s title challenge will be severely tested over the coming weeks and expects Manchester United to gradually get the upper hand as the campaign draws to a close.
“It (the Arsenal game) was a massive win for us,” said Smalling. “Even at 1-1 we all knew that we really needed to win because of what had happened earlier and I think we showed real character.
“We knew of the result [at City] beforehand and some of what had happened. We knew that they scored in the dying minutes but we can’t keep relying on them to drop points and we needed to make sure that we did our job. Soon enough, if we keep ticking these wins, then they’ll crumble.”
City have managed to record Premier League wins over Wigan and Tottenham without captain Vincent Kompany who will be back next week, although Yaya Toure will continue to be an absentee due to his African Cup of Nations participation.