Just three points separate Manchester United and Chelsea, with the blues yet to visit Old Trafford and arguably their two most important players about to leave for the African Cup of Nations.

Sir Alex Ferguson has looked at all the rivals to our title this week, whilst John Terry and Frank Lampard have talked up their chances.

Which attitude will pay off come May?

Playing it down

Ferguson: It could be open. It is a tough league. The form of Aston Villa makes you look over your shoulder and say “Hey, wait a minute”. And Tottenham are challenging in that top group as well. The history of the league points to it being between two teams but, from the spectator and general interest point of view, you hope it changes. It would be good if four or five teams are involved in the last month of the season. It would be fantastic.

Bigging yourself up

Terry: We should be further ahead at the top of the league and we only have ourselves to blame. I understand everyone feeling frustrated, our defending of set-plays was unacceptable. We’re still on target for 90 points this season and we are the only club which is.

nb. Terry doesn’t half talk shite.

Lampard: United have a history of doing it but we’ve had a history of doing it as well. We’re very determined. We had a really bad time around this time last year but when Guus Hiddink came in we were in the best form by far of anyone in the league. We can do that again.

nb. For the 12 games Hiddink was in charge until United were named Champions, Chelsea won 10, drew 1 and lost 1, claiming 31 points. United won 9, drew 1 and lost 2, claiming 28 points. Hardly the best form “by far” fat boy.