Manchester United drew level on points with Manchester City at the top of the table on Boxing Day, with boss Sir Alex Ferguson wasting no time in cranking up the pressure.
The Red Devils, 11/8 with bookmaker to be champions again this season, joined City on 45 points as they beat Wigan 5-0 at Old Trafford, while their Manchester rivals could only manage a goalless draw at West Brom.
Afterwards, Ferguson told MUTV: “We’re really hitting good form now and there’s a real goal threat about us from all departments.
“If we’re top of the league or joint top with City by New Year’s Day I’ll be happy.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas admitted that his side’s title hopes are all but over after a 1-1 draw at home to Fulham left them 11 points adrift of City and United and 33/1 to finish top of the Premier League.
The Portuguese said: “With City and United continuing to get the points they are getting at the moment, it will be difficult.
“That is the perspective we have to make at the moment – it’s difficult, it’s not impossible. You cannot say that.”