Queens Park Rangers-Manchester City Preview
- Pearce to lose Under-21 role
- Newcastle confirm Kinnear's return
- Ferguson's 1st team sheet up for auction
- Bale wants trademark goal celebration
- Hull sign Honduras defender Figueroa
- Man Utd confirm pre-season tour
- Man City confirm Pellegrini appointment
- Arsenal appoint Keswick as new chairman
- Wigan to appoint Coyle as manager
- Chelsea agree fee for Schuerrle
By CHRIS ALTRUDA
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - The noisy neighbours are on the verge of having the mother of all parties in Manchester 44 years in the making.
Manchester City can wrap up their first Premier League title in the club's history in front of their fans at sold-out Etihad Stadium on Sunday with a victory over Queens Park Rangers.
While nothing is set in stone heading into the final matchday, City (27-5-5) are level with United on 86 points atop the table but have a plus-63 goal differential to the plus-55 United sport heading into their finale at the Stadium of Light versus Sunderland.
A victory would put City in a near-unassailable position that should result in the team's first top-flight title since winning the First Division in the 1967-68 season and bring the purchase of this star-crossed club in August 2008 by Sheikh Mansour and the Abu Dhabi United Group full circle with this long-sought and desperately wanted title by the City faithful - a trophy that would be all the sweeter having been raised while their archrivals United finished second.
"The job is not done yet," City midfielder Yaya Toure told the team's official website. "We have to keep going because QPR need the points, but it would be amazing if we win.
"Forty-four years is an unbelievably long time to wait for another title - it is too many years for the fans to wait. Now we have one game left and we have to deliver."
Not that this run-up has come drama-free. Only recently has there been a détente between manager Roberto Mancini and striker Carlos Tevez from their September bust-up during Champions League play, with the Argentine contributing four goals as City have won five on the trot.
Fellow forward Mario Balotelli has made as many headlines for his off-pitch dramatics as his on-pitch prowess, and all the while, Uruguayan forward Sergio Aguero has quietly accounted for a team-best 22 goals in league play.
Yet even with a Premiership-best 90 goals, it has been City's rigorous defence at the Etihad that has them on the cusp of this title. They have taken 52 of a possible 54 points at home (17-1-0), outscored opponents there by a staggering 52-10 margin, posted 11 clean sheets and allowed more than one goal on only two occasions.
"You dream of those moments, but we haven't won a thing yet and we need everyone to keep their feet on the ground," defender Joleon Lescott told the team's official website. "It will be incredible if we win the title but we still have one more huge game to play against QPR. If we can win that, it would be unreal."
Queens Park Rangers (10-7-20), however, have no intention of being City's sacrificial lambs for a garden party at the Etihad as they enter this contest needing a win to ensure avoiding relegation. Rangers greatly helped their cause to avoid the drop last weekend when Djibril Cisse's 89th-minute goal provided a 1-0 win over Stoke City that vaulted them to 17th.
Manager Mark Hughes' team are two points ahead of Bolton Wanderers - who conclude their season at Stoke - in the race to stay in the Premier League and also could get by with a draw since Rangers have a superior goal differential. However, Rangers have been miserable away from Loftus Park, losing their last six by a combined 17-5 margin and are 0-2-10 on the road since a 3-2 win at Stoke City on Nov. 19 before Hughes took over.
"We haven't covered ourselves in glory this year on the road, but what better time to turn it around," Hughes told the team's official website. "It's unbelievable what this league throws up time and again, but it's on our hands and that's all we can ask for."
The match also has significant weight for Hughes, who was unceremoniously dumped as City's manager in December 2009 to make way for Mancini. Hughes did get a point at Etihad last season while guiding Fulham to a draw.
Yaya Toure provided the match-winner in the 74th minute of the reverse fixture at Loftus Road prior to Hughes' arrival in a 3-2 victory Nov. 5.
Updated May 11, 2012