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Derby win for City would not end title race - Owen

7 December 2017 15:37

Manchester City can go 11 points clear at the Premier League summit by beating arch-rivals Manchester United on Sunday, but Michael Owen does not believe such a result would end the title race.

Pep Guardiola's side have been in phenomenal form in 2017-18 and head into the Manchester derby at Old Trafford as the top flight's only unbeaten side.

City took an early advantage at the summit last season before Chelsea surged to the title, and former United forward Owen does not think they will be able to ease off should they open a sizeable lead.

"I think City were quite a few points ahead last season and didn't go on to win it and actually Chelsea went on to win it at an absolute breeze, so definitely nothing is going to be decided so soon," Owen told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of Hublot.

"City at the moment look brilliant. They score a lot of goals and look sterner at the back. Manchester United [have made] a massive step forward from last season as well.

"I thought last season even though they had a couple of trophies in the bag and qualification for the Champions League, I still watched them thinking there was more in the tank and I think this season they've looked a lot better.

"Obviously, they've been strengthened mainly down the spine of the team – [Nemanja] Matic has been a brilliant signing.

"I think it will be a huge game but I don't think it will be a decider so soon in the season."

Owen made his mark on the derby with a 96th-minute winner as United triumphed 4-3 in a memorable clash at Old Trafford in September 2009.

That victory came soon after City's takeover by Sheikh Mansour, a factor that made the triumph even sweeter for the former striker.

"I was lucky enough to play in quite a few derbies in my career but the Manchester derby was one of those that I gained a lot of satisfaction, obviously from scoring that goal in the 96th minute or whatever it was," said Owen.

"At the time, I think Manchester City were beginning to make noises, they'd been taken over and a lot of money spent.

"I think Sir Alex Ferguson and all the fans were probably thinking they've always been in Manchester United's shadows – or they have certainly for a long, long time – and probably starting to get a little bit nervous that a lot of money was getting spent down the road.

"So I think all the lead up to that game in particular was quite funny. Carlos Tevez had just moved across to the blue half of the city and there was all that 'Welcome to Manchester' signage and Ferguson and [Mark] Hughes having a bit of a ding-dong in the press.

"It just built into a great game, a big game that everyone was desperate to win and of course the game matched it and to score in the last minute was certainly a rush of adrenaline."

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