"It could decide the title" is what we keep hearing about Monday night's Arsenal-Manchester City clash at the Emirates Stadium. "Could," being an operative word, because any match up and any Premier League game theory could decide the title.
But this one probably won't.
Consider that in this the most topsy-tuvry Premier League campaign since the 1992-93 season, so much football remains to be played and the league is so competitive that little will alter the title chances of most teams in December - that might even include the hates Red Devils across town provided they make a management change sooner rather than later. As few as 77 points might win the league this season, and while City already have four loses, two of them at home the Blues remain title favorites even if points are dropped on Monday.
Think about two seasons ago when the Blues took a total of 3 points out of a possible 12 from title rivals Liverpool and Chelsea. What mattered that season was that City did not drop points to Norwich at home or to Crystal Palace away late in the campaign. With this season even more competitive matches against the likes of Norwich, Palace, Sunderland and Newcastle are more likely to decide the title than Monday's clash.
Last season Arsenal won at the Etihad 2-0. They still finished below the Blues in the league. Same can be said for the 2010-11 season when like last year City only earned one point against the Gunners (both times the result City got were away) yet finished a spot ahead of Arsenal in the league.
These games are fun litmus tests, but not in any way decisive. So enjoy Blues fans, because a loss while not meaningless is far from catastrophic.