Having slurped the season-salvaging elixir of victory over FC Bayern Munchen in midweek, Manchester City are rolling up their sleeves for the 30-day period that will heave them back into Premier League title contention.
Currently eight points adrift of the pace-setting Chelsea juggernaut, the Citizens can ill-afford many slip ups between now and the campaign’s close and using last December as a yard stick, they rate an excellent bet to fully capitalise on their Advent of Opportunity.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men are 10/11 to pocket over 10.5 points in the 12th month and with games against Southampton, Sunderland, Everton, Leicester and Crystal Palace to come, this looks as good as free money.
Last term, 13 points were amassed in the Premier League, while a Champions League group-stage toppling of FC Bayern was also encompassed, as was a Capital One Cup quarter-final win over Leicester.
Their five league games 12 months ago yielded 17 goals in addition to the bumper points haul and given the current form of their star men, they could easily repeat this vein of success.
Superlatives to describe Sergio Aguero’s recent goalscoring exploits are in short supply; his treble against FCB last time out took his tally to 14 strikes in 11 starts.
There’s also reason to believe midfield lynchpin Yaya Toure is returning to peak form after early-season toils.
The Ivorian behemoth has doubled his tally for the season in his previous four games.
Between them, the duo bagged seven of City’s 17 goals in the December weeks preceding Christmas a year ago.
Man City’s opportunity to close the gap on the table-topping Blues comes courtesy of the fact that Jose Mourinho’s men are facing three teams who beat them last season between now and Christmas.
The west Londoners’ lack of ruthlessness against the supposedly lesser outfits is what cost them the 2013/14 title and away games at Sunderland, Newcastle and Stoke, three venues where they were defeated in one competition or another in the previous campaign will be a good test of their improved powers.
Here’s how they fared 12 months ago:
Will 2014 be even better?