United conceded two late goals to draw 4-4 with Everton at Old Trafford, while City comfortably beat Wolves 2-0 to close the gap to three points, and send Wolves down to the Championship next season.
United led 4-2 with eight minutes remaining but goals from Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar levelled proceedings, while City ran out easy winners at Molineux thanks to Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri strikes.
The gap is now three points, though with City’s superior goal difference, they will regain top spot if they beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s men at the Etihad Stadium next week.
Ferguson acknowledged the magnitude of the game.
“It is probably the most important derby game in my time. We have to go there, make sure we perform in the right way and not give away silly goals.
“There’s no reason why we can’t get a good result. There has been an expectancy from City that this could be their decider, but it’s our decider too,” he said.
Elsewhere, Newcastle United moved a step closer to Champions League football with a 3-0 victory over Stoke City at the Sports Direct Arena.
Blackburn Rovers claimed a valuable three points as they battle to avoid the drop, beating Norwich City 2-0 at Ewood Park, while Liverpool’s miserable home form continued as they lost 1-0 to West Brom at Anfield.
Wolves’ relegation means there are now only two other places at stake and five teams at risk of occupying them. Blackburn are still in the bottom three, in 18th spot, in spite of an excellent 2-0 victory over Norwich at Ewood Park on Saturday.
They’ve risen above Bolton, who could only draw at home to Swansea, though Owen Coyle’s men do have two games in hand though and are only a point behind.
Just four points ahead of the Trotters are both Wigan and QPR.
In The Phuket News tipping competition, ‘gafferworld’ had a strong week to extend his lead at the top of the overall competition table.
He now sits 22 points clear of MRB, and it will take something very special for him not to win the return flight to the UK, courtesy of Albatross Lufthansa City Center.
In the monthly competition for April, Farang2005 still has his eyes on the B3,000 voucher to be spent at the Peppers Bar & Restaurant, Phuket’s premier sports bar. But with a week still to play, it’s still up for grabs, as is this year’s Premier League competition.