Winless in four games, it is unsurprising that Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is clinging to the hope that last week’s draw with Chelsea might help cure the January blues that threatened to derail their title bid.
The City manager has seen his side slip five points behind last week’s opponents at the top of the table with a solitary league victory since the turn of the year and none since midfielder Yaya Toure packed his bags for the African Nations Cup.
On the brink of their worst run in the Premier League since 2009, a statistic that would be confirmed if they fail to beat Hull City at home on Saturday, City’s title hopes are hanging in the balance.
Yet it is not all doom and gloom, and in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, where City were applauded as the more resourceful side, Pellegrini sees shoots of recovery.
“Other teams will drop points,” he told reporters on Friday. “The last two times this team has won the title, they’ve come from behind.
“It was not a good January for us but I believe that the game against Chelsea can be the switch for our performances.”
City were clearly the more ambitious side in Saturday’s clash, but they struggled to break down a resilient Chelsea.
If they are going to continue pushing Jose Mourinho’s side until the end of the season, they will have to convert the positives of that performance at Stamford Bridge into the hard currency of points.
They have lost their last two home games 2-0, against Arsenal in the league and a stunning reverse to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.
They have taken only six points from the last 15 and are winless in their last four in all competitions and all five league matches Toure has missed this season.
Their league fixtures in February, however, offer them the perfect opportunity to get back on track – after Hull, they visit Stoke City and then host Newcastle United.
Failure to win at home to Hull would leave them without a win in four league games, a throwback to the days when their money had yet to secure them a seat at the Premier League’s top table.
The last time they went four without a victory was during a seven-game winless run in late 2009 – a streak that coincidentally ended at home to Hull.