For the neutral, Monday night's Manchester derby turned into a thrilling spectacle, as substitute Sergio Aguero's brilliant virtuoso effort ensured the bragging rights are blue, for a day or two at least.
But more importantly, the result gives hope to many that, next season, Manchester United may face slightly more resistance than they've encountered in strolling towards their 20th English title.
As it is, City's second consecutive Premier League win at Old Trafford will taste bittersweet because, although highly praiseworthy, it will do little to alter the destination of the title this season.
The stark facts are that United are still way out in front of their rivals with a 12-point cushion heading into the last seven games and understandably remain at 1.021/50 to be crowned in May, with City out at 48.047/1.
While manager Roberto Mancini was happy with his side's largely dominant display, the Italian was also eager to point towards next season's championship race.
He declared: "We know we can win the title next season but this year we made some mistakes. It is unfortunate, we can do nothing. This season the title is gone. We showed we deserved to stay closer to the title but it is finished."
City were certainly worth their victory on the night too, pressing United high up the pitch and getting plenty of ball out to Samir Nasri and James Milner on the flanks - providing a constant menace.
And as it was for a great deal of last season, much of City's enterprise flowed through the nifty feet of David Silva, though a hamstring injury forced the Spaniard off at the end in one of the only negatives for the visitors on the night.
The injury is particularly bad news in light of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final date with Chelsea. City are 2.56/4 favourites to win the match, with Chelsea available at 3.211/5 but, without their creative fulcrum, Mancini's side's chances will take a knock.
Being their last chance of silverware, City will be desperate to claim the FA Cup as a consolation prize, but don't expect Mancini to be around at this time next season if their title challenge falls this far short again.