Sam says

IT was an intriguing weekend at both ends of the table at the weekend as Manchester United rose above their ‘noisy neighbours’ to reclaim top spot. At the other end, Wolves and Wigan were the two sides to lose out as they slipped deeper into the relegation mire.

Was this the weekend that Manchester City saw their title aspirations slowly disappear? Swansea played their illustrious opponents off the park and if Brendan Rodgers does not receive Manager of the Year then it will be an absolute travesty.

Working on one of the smallest wage budgets in the league, he has them playing some scintillating football. Rumours of half time scuffles and Barry venting his frustration at being replaced early on will be music to the ears of those at Old Trafford.

City were poor and they have been relying on their home form recently to keep them at the top of the summit. Joe Hart at times has kept his team in the title hunt almost on his own.

Manchester United have been there and done that and bought enough t-shirts to fill a WAGs wardrobe and you would have to fancy them with eight games remaining.

Looking at the run in, United arguably have the easier fixtures. City have a tricky home tie against Chelsea and also travel to Stoke only three days later.

They also face a trip to the Emirates where Arsenal have begun to find some form.

However, there is no doubt about it that the defining fixture of this season will be at the Etihad, when United are the visitors on the 30th April. However, City and United must continue to pick up points both at home and on the road to make this match a winner takes all clash.

At the other end of the table, Wigan, QPR and Wolves occupy the three relegation places. Blackburn and Bolton hand precariously above the drop zone and will be hoping to pull away from the current bottom three.

Blackburn had a crucial win over Wolves at the weekend and in Junior Hoilett they have a gifted footballer. Wolves could not handle his blistering pace and he will be crucial to Blackburn’s survival hopes.

Wolves under Terry Connor look doomed. Defensively they are very poor and expensive acquisitions like Roger Johnson and Sebastian Bassong have failed to improve the Molineux rear-guard.

QPR have a talented pool of players but the arrival of Mark Hughes came much too late on for him to save a sinking ship. Wigan are a creative outfit but lack fire-power up front. I can see them coming propping up the rest of the division by May.

Bolton looked to have discovered some form at home and in Owen Coyle they have an inspirational manager. My only fear is that they concede too many sloppy goals and they will hoping that creative talents such as Miyachi and Petrov can help to ensure that they score more than they concede.