Easter weekend saw the most significant pair of results this season in regards to the title race, as Manchester City lost to Arsenal and subsequently dropped to 8 points behind Manchester United with just six games left to play. 

While it's unlikely they'll win the league this season they still have hope, and need to focus on their next game against West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night.

Carlos TevezThe title horse may already have bolted but Manchester City have a chance to start closing the stable door by taking all three points off West Bromwich Albion and attempt to take the race to the wire. Despite the fact that there are still 18 points up for grabs and that all important Manchester derby it looks like City have blown their chances.

It just doesn't add up

After 32 games played Manchester City are eight points behind Manchester United and have a goal difference that is worse to the tune of two (+49 compared to +51). In case anyone can't be bothered to do the maths on this one Manchester United would need to lose at least three games from their remaining six and City would have to win every game for the Citizens to be crowned Premier League champions. While I think it's possible that City can sort themselves out and collect maximum points from these last six matches I can't see where Manchester United will drop points (outside of the Etihad Stadium). Bookmakers seem to agree with me as they have Manchester United as clear favourites to win the league at 1/20 while City is a poor second at 16/1.

Ifs and buts and maybes…

There are other permutations that could see City winning the league, for instance if United lost two and drew two games, and City won all of their games the blue half of Manchester would take the league by a point, but that hardly seems more probable. What's more significant is if City go to pieces on Wednesday night in front of the Baggies and get beaten (available as low as 9/1 on the soccer betting board) combined with a Manchester United victory over relegation zone Wigan (at 2/5) in their Wednesday night game.  City would then be 11 points behind the leaders with just 15 points left to play for. Surely a bridge too far.

Why always him?

It speaks volumes about City’s title chance implosion that the game where they (effectively) lost it was overshadowed by their most exciting yet disruptive player. Sunday saw Manchester City go down 1-0 away to Arsenal, leaving them with that eight-point mountain to climb, but the loudest headlines centred on City’s Mario Balotelli who had a lively (if unproductive) game. The Italian striker may have escaped punishment for his tackle on Alex Song and several “enthusiastic” clashes with Bacary Sagna in the first half, but was eventually sent off for a second bookable offence late in the game (his fourth dismissal in two seasons with the club). His actions overshadowed a dispirited City performance, when failure shouldn’t have been an option.

Scoring off the pitch

Balotelli also hit the headlines recently when a story broke that he had been “spending time” with one Jenny Thompson; a lady of financially negotiable virtue. While that was newsworthy in itself the fact that Jen had also warmed the bed of Wayne Rooney got sportswriters in a lather. Ms Thompson offered a ray of light to Mario and City in these dark days of title capitulation saying, "Wayne may be the better footballer, but when it comes to performance off the pitch Mario beats him in every way."

If City weren't distracted by the eight-point deficit and the behaviour of Mad Mario I’d happily throw plenty of cash on them to treat Wednesday's game against West Bromwich Albion as a milk run. All things considered, the Blues haven't made it easy for themselves and West Brom will feel that they can cause an upset after their 3-0 victory over Blackburn, which broke their five-game winless run and pretty much guarantees their Premier League survival (the bookies have them at the long odds of 200/1 to go down now). Baggies’ boss Roy Hodgson, speaking after the win said "I think we can relax to be honest, but hopefully we don't and keep rewarding our fans with wins and see how high we can finish in the table." The shortest soccer odds on winning scores for West Bromwich are 28/1 for 1-0 and 33/1 for 2-1. Those scores come behind City winning 4-1 (at 16/1) and 5-0 (at 22/1) which shows how unlikely such an upset is.

If you want to get rich at City's expense West Bromwich are 14/1 to win and drive another nail into the title hopes while a draw, which would be almost as damning, is at just 5/1.

Fat ladies singing and bells tolling

City have now recorded just one win, and five points from their last five league games, so surely they can't not win when they host West Bromwich Albion. West Bromwich have won six, lost six and drawn four away from home, scoring 21 goals but conceding 24. Jiggling those numbers around would suggest a 1-1 draw which is at just 9/1.

I’m backing City to bounce back after their defeat at Arsenal and give the fans something to shout about at West Brom's expense, but I don't think that will affect the ultimate outcome of the league.

Prediction: City win 3-1 at 10/1