Five points behind leaders Chelsea and 2-1 down to Barcelona in the Champions League, Manchester City's quest for silverware this season could be fruitless.
Patchy form, underperforming stars and the relentlessness of rivals has seen the defending champions slip and they need to step up if they are to look back on 2014/15 with pride. However, this is a club that do not do things the easy way.
Remember they trailed Liverpool with six games remaining last season and won the title on the last day. Manager Manuel Pellegrini knows it is a difficult task but one that his side are more than capable of achieving. They will need a little luck along the way but it certainly is possible.
Here are the five games that could shape their season.
Barcelona (A) - March 18th
City were given a footballing masterclass when Barcelona arrived at the Etihad Stadium in late February. Two goals from former Liverpool man Luis Suarez gave the Catalans a commanding 2-0 lead before half time. With Lionel Messi pulling the strings, City had little response to former European champions.
However, a goal from Sergio Aguero and a late penalty save from Messi by Joe Hart has given City hope. They travel to the Nou Camp knowing they will need to score at least twice to reach the quarter finals. It is a return to a venue which saw them eliminated so meekly at the same stage last season.
Pellegrini will want a much better response this time around and will take inspiration from the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool who have been successful at the Nou Camp in recent years. Barcelona are currently on a four-match winning run but recently suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Malaga.
Manchester United (A) - April 12th
Manchester derbies are always special affairs but this April showdown could go a long way to deciding the title. With Chelsea facing Queens Park Rangers earlier in the day, City will know how much is riding on a victory over their closest rivals.
The reverse fixture was an extremely tepid encounter with City breezing through 1-0 against a hugely disappointing United side. This time around Louis van Gaal will have the Red Devils charged up. Despite not playing scintillating football, United are in good form and will pose a stern test for their title-challenging neighbours.
City will be buoyed by their recent good form against United. The Sky Blues have won the last four meetings in the league and have not tasted defeat since a last minute free-kick from Robin van Persie gave United a 3-2 victory at the Etihad in December 2012. City have not lost at Old Trafford since February 2011, winning the last three.
Maintaining this hoodoo will be integral for their title chances.
Aston Villa (H) - April 25th
One of City's issues this year has been failing to beat the so-called 'lesser' sides at home. Draws against Burnley and Hull not to mention a defeat to Stoke have been hugely damaging so it is important they claim three points against Aston Villa.
It is a poignant moment in the season, Chelsea are facing Arsenal at the Emirates on the same day after facing Man United a week earlier. By contrast City have West Ham and Villa at home, two games which Pellegrini will be highlighting as winnable. Victory against these two and any form of slip-up by Chelsea and City will be back within striking distance.
Villa will be no pushovers and have a relegation fight on their hands, not to mention being reinvigorated by new manager Tim Sherwood.
Tottenham Hotspur (A) - May 2nd
A trip to White Hart Lane will be a stern test of City's title credentials. A painful 3-1 defeat here in 2013 effectively handed the title to Man United and City will be desperate to ensure that lightning does not strike twice.
With Chelsea playing Crystal Palace at home, it is key that City do not slip up. Tottenham will be chasing a Champions League spot and in Harry Kane they have a striker in the form of his life. However, White Hart Lane does provide some happy memories for the travelling City contingent.
In two of the last three visits, City have scored five and a repeat would go some way to ramping up the pressure on Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.
Swansea City (A) - May 16th
City's final away trip of the season could not be trickier. Swansea have a habit of threatening to derail a team's title challenge. Man United came unstuck at the Liberty Stadium earlier in the season when they lost 2-1 and City will be fools to take this game lightly. City themselves lost 1-0 in 2012 as they went for their first Premier League crown.
With Gary Monk's side comfortably safe from relegation, the Swansea players could see the game as a dead rubber but it could prove pivotal for City.
Chelsea face a difficult away trip to West Bromwich Albion, who will be scrapping against relegation, on the same weekend. Should City manage to win and the Blues slip up, they could go into the final game against Southampton with their fate in their own hands.
If successful, City could become only the third side to successfully defend their title in the Premier League era.