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Tim Hales, Associated Press
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini looks on before their English Premier League soccer match against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns Stadium, West Bromwich, England, Monday Dec. 26, 2011.

LONDON — After seeing its Premier League lead wiped out by archrival Manchester United, Manchester City's title credentials face a severe test when it plays revitalized Sunderland and then Liverpool in a three-day span to kick off a hectic month for the big-spending northern club.

City still tops the standings as it goes in search of a first English title since 1968, but has squandered a five-point advantage in the space of a month to lead United only on goal difference.

The pressure will be ramped up on Roberto Mancini's men in January, when they also play United in the third round of the FA Cup and Liverpool over two legs in the semifinals of the League Cup.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart says "there is all sorts of pressure and we're feeling it."