Sir Alex Ferguson's men sat eight points clear at the top with six games left last term, only to collapse during the run-in and lose out on a record 20th league trophy to City on goal difference on the final day of the campaign.
City have slipped seven points off the pace in this year's standings to shake their hopes of defending the title but Argentina international Zabaleta feels there is plenty of time left for United to drop points.
He told the Daily Star: "We know that we are up against a rival in United who are in a very good moment, and they have seven points more, but that is not much in this league.
"There is still a long way before the title is decided and there is still a margin to lose and recover.
"We hope United have a few games where they lose some points and we continue on this route, taking three points all the time.
"United are seen as clear favourites, but that doesn't bother us."