Finally, out of the shadows?
Man City need to beat relegation-threatened QPR to win the league after 44 years. Points tablesports Updated: May 13, 2012 02:12 IST
Manchester City are determined to usher in a new era for English football on Sunday by clinching their first title for 44 years as the curtain comes down on a thrilling Premier League campaign.
Four years after the serial under-achievers from the blue half of Manchester were bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group, the club's fabulously wealthy owners are poised to see the biggest return yet on their substantial investment
Victory over Queens Park Rangers at Eastlands on Sunday will - barring a miraculous scoreline for Manchester United at Sunderland - be enough to see Roberto Mancini's side claim the league crown.
Yet City, whose owners have spent nearly £1 billion ($1.6bn) on the club according to some estimates, are determined to ensure that victory in this year's league campaign is only a stepping stone to greater glory.City are already reported to be planning summer transfer moves for Lille winger Eden Hazard, as well as Napoli's highly rated Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani.
Bitter cross-town rivals United, meanwhile, are left clinging to the hope that City's historical reputation as masters of shooting themselves in the foot will re-emerge against QPR.
While Rangers are fighting for Premier League survival, needing a win to be sure of avoiding relegation, City head into the game on the back of a remarkable home record that has seen them drop just two points at Eastlands all season.
QPR, by contrast, have one of the worst away records in the league, winning three, drawing twice and losing 13 on the road.
Yet the possibility of one last twist to a roller-coaster season in English football cannot be discounted, and denying City the title on the last day of the season would be particularly sweet for QPR manager Mark Hughes, who was sacked by City in 2009.
Another side keeping a close eye on QPR's match will be third-bottom Bolton Wanderers, who must win at Stoke City and hope Hughes' side are beaten.
Arsenal will guarantee themselves third place if they win at West Bromwich Albion.