Ferguson fears Chelsea in race
Sir Alex Ferguson can only see Chelsea breaking Manchester's stranglehold on the Premier League title.
The trophy switched from United to City in the most thrilling fashion last May, meaning it has only left Manchester once since 2007. Chelsea were responsible for that brief interlude, in 2010.
"Chelsea, City and ourselves are creating that little gap from the rest and whilst I cannot be dead certain, I would be surprised if one of us didn't win it," said Ferguson.
It just places even more emphasis on Sunday's showdown between Chelsea and United at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues boast an unbeaten Premier League home record against their rivals that dates back to 2002.
However, they are looking to recover from Tuesday's shock Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, which has placed a question mark over their ability to reach the knockout phase.
Given City need a "miracle" according to Roberto Mancini after picking up just one point from their opening three games, Ferguson could be forgiven for being slightly concerned at the prospect of heading into the second half of the season with significantly more matches to play.
"It is never a good thing to lose a game of football," said the United boss. "If you are knocked out of the Champions League it would not be a good thing. If you were knocked out of Europe completely it would be even worse."
So much has been said about the racism row that engulfed both clubs it has largely been overlooked exactly half of the games Terry will be suspended for are against United, who also visit Stamford Bridge in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.
"Terry is a loss because he has been such a dominating figure," he said. "He is the captain and has so much experience at the back. He can be a ruthless defender and a lot of the time, his presence alone was the most important thing."