Manchester United
Twelve points clear and  poised for a crack at Real Madrid in the Champions League sees Alex Ferguson’s side in perfect shape for the conclusion of their domestic and European campaigns.
Everton came from 4-2 down to draw 4-4 at Old Trafford last season and hand the initiative to  City but here United produced a professional display to win 2-0 and ensure they head into their final 12 fixtures odds-on to claim a 20th title.
Expected to ease up and rest regulars for Tuesday’s visit of Madrid, Ferguson instead fielded his strongest 11 and made sure of three points following City’s capitulation the evening before.
Robin van Persie has proven the most astute purchase of the season, and if United do win the league then prising the Arsenal captain away will be seen as the key moment in the season.

Mauricio Pochettino

What a difference a month makes. Pochettino (right)  was booed on his first visit to the Southampton dugout ahead of a 0-0 draw with Everton on January 21 but the St Mary’s faithful have little choice but to applaud his impact, culminating in a 3-1 defeat of Manchester City.
Southampton are far from safe but picking up five points from a possible 12 and moving four points clear of the relegation zone has at least given them some breathing space in their battle to survive.
The backlash chairman Nicola Cortese endured after giving Adkins his P45 is slowly dissipating.

Gareth Bale
Another Saturday, another virtuoso performance from the Welsh international helped Tottenham  keep their Champions League hopes alive and raise the question just how much Bale’s suitors would have to cough up to prise him away.
Bale has emerged as both Tottenham and the Premier League’s most potent attacking midfielder this season, contributing 13 goals either as an orthodox winger or replacement striker for the absent Jermain Defoe.
His ability to draw fouls and open up space for his fellow team-mates has prompted manager Andre Villas Boas to comment that selling Bale would be similar to Barcelona losing Messi or Real Madrid losing Cristiano Ronaldo.

Aston Villa
It was far from pretty but Villa will not care following their ugly 2-1 defeat of West Ham on Sunday.
A first league win in nine attempts and only their third at home all season has temporarily elevated the club out of the drop zone. Arsenal and Manchester City are next up before season-defining clashes away to Reading and at home to QPR.
The erratic Charles N’Zogbia has improved, converting a free kick, and even the previously ignored Darren Bent got in on the act, clearing a goal-bound shot off the line.

Frank Lampard
On the weekend Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher announced his intention to retire at the end of the season, another long-serving  international was doing his best to get a new contract.
Lampard’s 11th goal of the season in the 4-1 trouncing of Wigan was his 198th for Chelsea and it looks like Roman Abramovich will have little option but to invite Lampard onto his yacht for a business meeting before the summer is out.

Ryan Giggs
Giggs' strike in the 2-0 defeat of Everton was a special moment for the experienced Welsh international as it marked his 23rd consecutive season scoring a Premier League goal since making his United debut in 1990/91.


Roberto Mancini
The champions’ manager cut a forlorn figure on the St Mary’s touchline towards the end of Saturday’s defeat.
The 12-point gap to United looks a bridge too far, especially with City on a run of form which has returned  two points from a possible nine.
Vincent Kompany’s injury woes and Yaya Toure’s absence have affected City’s hopes of retaining their crown but the sheer lack of urgency from the remainder of the squad has been alarming in recent games.
Mancini’s job could be on the line this summer if a suitable replacement is identified, and the sight of Mario Balotelli knocking goals for AC Milan will have done little to ease the manager’s mood.

James McClean
After his refusal to wear a poppy in November, O’Neill warned McClean to stay off Twitter when he received death threats and he complied until the recent international get-together in Dublin, when a number of tweets emerged from his previously dormant account.
Quite what he hopes to achieve by disobeying his manager and club’s wishes only he knows but for now he would do well to  concentrate on his football.

Wigan Athletic
A horrific run of form resulting in just one win in their last 10 league outings has seen Wigan plummet into the relegation zone.  It was around this time over the past number of seasons that Roberto Martinez weaved his magic and inspired his side to a series of unlikely victories before  moving away from the bottom three.
Reading, Liverpool and Manchester City are next up and Wigan desperately need points from those fixtures, otherwise their survival will come down to relegation six-pointers against QPR and West Ham.

Follow Ger on Twitter: @germccarthy74