Manchester City head into their remaining fixture triptych assured in the knowledge that nine points will bring a second Premier League title in three years.
Yet, the rollercoaster nature of the first post-Sir Alex Ferguson campaign in the history of the modern top flight suggests a clean-sweep is far from assured.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men must first find a way to avoid their fifth straight Goodison Park defeat at Everton hands, an almighty task, knowing nothing less than a 7/10-rated victory will do if they are to retain pole position in the title race.
Here, in the eyes of news.bwin.com/en/, are the trio of happenings that must transpire if the Citizens are to bring their Chilean puppet-master his first league title since his River Plate days of 2002/03.
Antolin Alcaraz must start for Everton at Goodison Park
The Toffees haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of the Paraguayan defenceman’s four starts against Premier League opposition this term.
With the participations of Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and Leighton Baines all in doubt for City’s visit, the inclusion of the so-far hapless former Wigan man would be a massive boon for the title chasers in their toughest remaining test.
Crystal Palace to reprise their role as Selhurst Park Scrooges against Liverpool
The Eagles are 3/4 for victory over the league leaders with the aid of a two goal head start, an advantage that would have seen their +2 backers trouser the readies in all bar three of Tony Pulis’ 12 home games in charge.
A healthy eight-strike goal difference advantage over the Merseysiders means the Citizens will triumph in the title race if neither side drops a point between here and the end of the season.
It’s a cushion that a characteristically disciplined Palace showing could preserve or even increase.
Aston Villa and West Ham to secure safety in the next round of fixtures
It’s possible for the teams City must face in their final two fixtures of the campaign to secure their Premier League survival by the time they meet the Sky Blues, with the anticipated adversary intensity bypass the dream for the would-be titlists.
Both claret and blue clad clubs have winnable games, with the Villans 29/20 to down Hull and Sam Allardyce’s charges somewhat long at 3/1 to beat a Tottenham side they’ve already bested on two occasions in 2013/14.