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Is Life All That Great In Manchester At Present?
Footytubeblog (Blog) 1 year ago
Manchester United have managed to open up a seven-point lead over rivals and reigning champions Manchester City at the top of the table so far this season, but the question over whether either of them are displaying the sort of quality required to have won the title in years gone by is certainly a valid one - are the top two really all that good this term or are they simply the best of a bad bunch?

A few factoids for you to start then - Manchester United have won 17 of their 21 league games this campaign. They have also fallen behind in 16 of their 30 games across all competitions so far. They have an impressive total of 52 points in the league and qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions league with two games to spare. They have kept just five cleans sheets in the top flight. Manchester City on the other hand before this weekend's game had scored 19 fewer goals than at the same point last season and have emerged victorious in just five of their ten games on the road in the league but have kept eight clean sheets, losing one game less than United.

So what can we take from all of that information then? That Manchester United appear to be scoring their way to success with a pretty ropey defence in tow while City are struggling to keep up despite having a more solid base due to their profligacy in front of goal which has cost them against the likes of Sunderland, Stoke and Everton already.

The difference, as Mancini has pointed to recently, is the arrival of the Dutch striker at Old Trafford, after Ferguson beat City to the Arsenal man's signature in the summer: "Robin van Persie is an important player for them. It's clear that the difference is this. He has changed the situation. We wanted him in the summer because we knew he would be an important player. He is totally different from our other strikers." Ferguson reiterated this point after the 4-0 demolition of Wigan: "We knew we were getting a top player who would make a difference to the team, that's why we went for him. Robin's a completely rounded footballer."

While I wouldn't doubt the quality of the 29-year-old Netherlands international, for he is a world-class player capable of turning a game in an instant, just as he did with his last-minute winner in the Manchester derby this season, but that the title has turned so heavily and so much on the signing of one player points to a lack of quality elsewhere in the two teams.

Following a disastrous and limp exit from Europe this season, City are still grappling with their indifferent and inconsistent form which will be dealt a further blow by key midfielder Yaya Toure's spell at the African Cup of Nations for the remainder of the month. The signings of Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell have made little impact, while Maicon and Scott Sinclair have both struggled for playing time.

Elsewhere, integral first-team players have endured spells of poor form, with Vincent Kompany now only returning to something approaching his level, while Samir Nasri's form has collapsed, Joe Hart is now more calamitous than ever and Sergio Aguero has become increasingly wasteful in front of goal. Nevertheless, despite all of this, with the training ground bust-up between Mancini and the liability that is Mario Balotelli casting further doubt on their credentials to retain their league crown, they still sit six points ahead of Tottenham in third place and are well within a chance of overhauling United at the summit.

Ferguson's side have been scoring for fun this term and after the Newcastle result, a 4-3 win on home turf against a deeply out-of-sorts outfit, they shipped three goals to ensure they had conceded 11 more goals than at the same stage last season. Despite this huge flaw, which has been remedied somewhat by back-to-back clean sheets against West Brom and Wigan, they are in the driving seat heading towards a title triumph in May and with an impressive points tally to boot.

They critique of United this term is that they've struggled to get out of second gear, but when was the last time that they impressed over a consistent run of games? Two, maybe three years ago now? Yet it doesn't seem to have slowed them down or stopped them from challenging at the top at all, which speaks volumes for the league's strength in depth. They simply don't need to get out of 'second gear' for the most part because second gear is enough to see the majority of teams off, with the scramble for a top-four spot showing the increasingly competitive nature of the teams below the top two which is seeing them drop points nearly each and every week.

Consistency is the key to a sustained title challenge and with both squads suffering from injury and form issues at several junctures so far, it's admirable that they are both able to sit quite so comfortably ahead of the chasing pack just over halfway into the season now. Nevertheless, the league is always won on merit, even if the dominant, clearly defined and unstoppable forces that used to routinely rule the roost look to have been consigned to the past and now more than ever before, you can win the title with a deeply flawed side.

The Manchester duopoly have a stranglehold on supremacy in the top flight at the moment, with their titanic clashes a fixture in the calendar to really look forward to, but when it comes to the crushing monotony usually reserved for brilliance, there's a vacuum that neither have been able to consistently fill much to the detriment of the overall quality of both of them. Exciting it may be but pretty it ain’t.

Written by James McManus



This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.
Lihanguk (Arsenal) 1 year ago
This article raises a good point however I don't think that the league is lacking in competitiveness rather the game is continuing to evolve and become more challenging for teams with lower financial capabilities to compete. Also Man UTD is genius in the transfer window while city hasn't signed the right players to get the job done and compete at the highest level. The depth that Man UTD has in its squad is another factor and while mancini is a good coach he seems to be somewhat of a @$$hole (just watch his reactions during a game- he is always cursing and acting so desperate) and treats his players like children which gives a bad atmosphere in the training ground and locker room. So I guess my answer is that Man UTD is just that good and consistent in comparison to the other teams. The rest of us must spend wisely and adjust our playing styles to succeed in the league!
Peteko 1 year ago
I hope for the sake of EPL that the Manchester side don't become the Real-Barca of England.    
TheBresh (Manchester United) 1 year ago
I don't think this will happen as long as Abramovich is in charge at Chelsea. Arsenal will likely be back to consistent top 4 finishes before too long. Tottenham will remain competitive if they can keep their key players. I don't think England will enter a season as a clear-cut two horse race like Spain does
LumpOfCelery (Chelsea) 1 year ago
The last two seasons?
ManUK (Manchester United) 1 year ago
I think It's more that lower tier sides have gained strength, especially in the decline of Liverpool and somewhat Arsenal. The Everton's of the league that are hanging around and below 4th and 5th place are better than they ever have been in the past. At least since the start of the 2000's.

I feel like the quality is a little more evenly distributed in the league. There are more players now that play for the likes of Sunderland and Newcastle that could play for a big club



   
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