Manuel Pellegrini claims that the title could be won with less than 80 points for the first time in 17 years.
Manchester United needed only 79 points to claim the Premier League in their Treble-winning season of 1998/99, when Leeds finished fourth with just 67 points.
City now have 32 points from 16 games after their last-gasp 2-1 win over Swansea on Saturday, which would put them on course for just 76 points over the whole season.
They did, however, have the same points total at this stage two seasons ago and then went on to win the title with 86 points.
“It is a very difficult title to win because the amount of points all the teams have now is not normal,” said Pellegrini, whose memory may not be what it was.
“You don’t have that in every Premier League season. Maybe this season the teams are stronger, maybe the games are closer.
“Every season is different but to win the Premier League this season will be very difficult and take less than 80 points.
“I don’t think the leaders after the first half of the season will have 40 points. It will be one of the closest [yet].”
Pellegrini is clearly expecting to drop points over City’s next three difficult games against Arsenal, Sunderland and Leicester City.