The victory parade begins in Albert Square at 6.30pm on Monday. Which is just about the same time, coincidentally, Manchester United's players will be sitting down for their end‑of-season awards dinner. On one side of town, one of the biggest street parties the city has ever known. On the other, fixed smiles and heavy hearts as the soup is served and they try to block out what is happening a mile or so away.
Ultimately it came down to goal difference and Sir Alex Ferguson will think back to that tumultuous Sunday afternoon last October when this Manchester City team turned up at Old Trafford and set to work dismantling their opponents in a way they have never done before. What a momentous result that 6-1 now looks when you consider the eight-goal difference at the top of the table.
There will be plenty of what-ifs at Old Trafford over the summer but there cannot be any argument that the Premier League trophy is going to a deserving home. "The best team won," Roberto Mancini volunteered, with the Italian national flag draped round his shoulders and a flute of champagne in his hand. "We played the best football, conceded less goals, scored more goals and we beat United two times. When you beat United twice, score more goals and concede less goals, you deserve to win the title."
He has a compelling case given that City's total of 93 goals has been bettered only twice in the Premier League era, Chelsea with 103 in 2009‑10 and United with 97 in 1999‑2000. Thirty-six came in City's first 10 games alone and, in total, 18 have arrived after the 85-minute mark, including the two in stoppage time that made Sunday 13 May 2012 the most euphoric day in the club's history. Ferguson used to boast that no other team in the world scores as many late goals as United; City now have a reasonable case to say that it not true. Increasingly, it feels like a trick of the mind to remember those days, early in the Mancini reign, when he was criticised for being too conservative.
In the process, the Etihad Stadium has become one of the most formidable grounds in Europe. The Champions League finalists, Chelsea and Bayern Munich, have both lost here this season. In fact, every team that has come here in the league, bar Sunderland, has now been beaten. Mancini's men have posted the best set of home results of the Premier League era which is not bad given this is the ground Ferguson once derided as "the Temple of Doom".
To borrow another quote, this time from Mark E Smith, one of the many Mancunians who probably once never thought they would witness this moment, City have come a long way since the old days at Maine Road surrounded by "30,000 miserable gets".
By now, we know the men who will be talked about in future years with the same reverence that supporters of another generation afford to Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee. While Nemanja Vidic has been recovering from ruptured knee ligaments, Vincent Kompany has established himself as the finest centre‑half in the country. Joe Hart, as Ferguson has said himself, is showing himself to be the most accomplished English goalkeeper for 20 years. David Silva was pushing Robin van Persie hard for three-quarters of the season for the right to be known as the outstanding player in the league. Sergio Agüero's first season in Manchester has brought him 30 goals, the last of which will be cherished like a family heirloom. Yaya Touré's hamstring injury meant he was not involved in the final, unforgettable moments of stoppage time against QPR but his contribution has been considerable.
But this is also a time when some of the players who tend not to attract too much publicity deserve acclaim. Gaël Clichy, for example, arrived from Arsenal last summer with a reputation for being vulnerable at left-back, prone to lapses of concentration. Now we see a player with a far greater appreciation of positioning and defensive know-how. Clichy has defended stoutly and in the run of wins that has returned City to the top of the table he has provided two of the more exquisite passes of the season: a 10-yard nutmeg through Davide Santon's legs to set up Touré for his second goal at Newcastle United and the inch-perfect cross for Agüero's first goal at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Then look at Joleon Lescott's improvement since his early days at City and try to get past the mistake that allowed Djibril Cissé in for the goal that threatened the newly crowned champions with such grave repercussions. A year ago, Mancini had legitimate reasons to want another centre-half to partner Kompany but the two he liked, Gerard Piqué at Barcelona and Thiago Silva of Milan, were out of reach and, in the end, City's manager opted not to follow up early interest in Gary Cahill, then at Bolton Wanderers, and Phil Jones, then of Blackburn Rovers. Lescott has justified the gamble to the extent nobody talks any more about the price tag that once followed him everywhere.
The credit has to go to Mancini, a serial champion who can be bruising with his man-management but operates by one clear philosophy: he is always right. Mancini has taken on a talented yet often problematic group of players, epitomised by the Carlos Tevez affair but has almost always given the sense that he is in utter control.
He has also been lucky in a couple of respects. The first is that United have had significantly worse injury problems. The second is that Ferguson's men have done what nobody expected when they motored into an eight-point lead a month ago: they have lost their way just at the point when they would ordinarily be expected to hold their nerve. The flipside to that, however, it is not always about good or bad fortune when a team lose players to injury; very often, it is about preparation and, in United's case, it seems to be a recurring habit. As for what has happened in the last month, the focus ought really be on City's powers of recovery and a feat of escapology that makes you realise these players are totally detached from the beat-up club of old.
When City played QPR in their penultimate game of the 1997-98, on their way into the old third division, the occasion was made infamous by the tragicomedy of Jamie Pollock's own goal. At times, their latest meeting threatened to take us into a past they will not particularly want to remember. Except the Abu Dhabi United, together with one of the shrewdest managers in the business, have found the antidote to "Cityitis".