That is the view of ESPN FC pundit and former Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley.
Manchester City are currently unbeaten after 12 games of the season and sit eight points ahead of Jose Mourinho’s side.
Pep Guardiola’s men have three favourable fixtures ahead of the first derby of the season on December 10.
They face a trip to Huddersfield before two games at the Etihad against Southampton and relegation-threatened West Ham.
Manchester United come up against Brighton and high-flying Watford before visiting Arsenal on December 2.
Burley says United boss Jose Mourinho will be hoping for three of his adversaries to do him a favour in the coming weeks.
“Barring a disaster that does look like maximum points,” Burley said of City’s run of games.
“As does the first two for Manchester United, then you’ve got the Arsenal game at Arsenal, who obviously had a big win against Tottenham, and then the Manchester derby.
“The next three are key to just eating a little hole into Manchester City, and then you’ve got the derby itself.
“It’s a difficult one because they’ve given themselves a parachute, quite a big parachute actually Man City.
“Barring something that David Moyes does or (Mauricio) Pellegrino does or David Wagner does, it’s hard to see them not getting nine points in those next three games.
“That means by the time the Manchester derby comes around, you’d expect the gap to be at least the same, if not more because Man United have got Arsenal.”