It’s official. The season of 2011/ 12 was the best audiences had been treated to in a long while according to the Premier League. It had it all! Relegation battles, controversy, fights for European places and a thrilling final day decider, which meant Manchester City found themselves in a position needing a win against QPR to seal their first premiership title in 44 years (and more importantly get one over on their city rivals, Manchester Utd).
It’s a day I shall never forget (being a United fan myself). Manchester United had won at Sunderland and given themselves a chance to retain the title, better still Manchester city were being held to a draw by QPR with minutes left in the game. Until that moment. The moment football fans across the globe shall remember for a long time to come: Aguero in the 94th minute skips past a lunging defender and dispatches the title-winning goal.
It’s a goal that left grown men across Manchester weeping for very different reasons. Alas! It’s a new season and both clubs can look ahead with great hope, considering their domination in the previous season. Both clubs found themselves with 89 points at the end of the 2011/12 season, whilst third place arsenal finished 19 point behind. Additionally the goal difference achieved by the clubs from Manchester was astonishing. Manchester City managed a goal difference of +64, United not so much, yet equally as impressive at +56. Third place Arsenal comparatively achieved a goal difference of +25.
The question this season is whether the Manchester clubs shall dominate once again or will they find things a little more difficult?
Personally I think the latter, and in an effort to convince you I shall discuss why. First by highlighting the issues within the squads themselves followed by a look at the competition they face this season.
Its been estimated that since 2008 Sheikh Mansour has invested at least £1billion into City. Such financial backing has lead to City being able to chase the best players in the game, and with some success as their squad includes the likes of Mario Balotelli, Eden Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez. What’s more astonishing is that I’ve only listed their strikers.
As reassuring as Roberto Mancini may feel at the idea of having real quality on the bench, players may easily get irritated at the idea of being on the bench on a regular basis. Especially with 2014 approaching and qualifiers well under way. He’ll do well to keep each and every one of them content throughout the season.
United similarly have players looking to stake their place in international football. Players like Ashley young, Phil jones, Chris Smalling, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverly and Shinji Kagawa.
However if any team is likely to be able to handle keeping players content, it is Alex Ferguson’s United. Ferguson’s legendary zero tolerance policy shall undoubtedly help keep his players in check. Ferguson has displayed this policy to some of his most important players in the past, including Wayne Rooney and David Beckham.
The competition may have stepped up their game
It’s an old cliché, but the fact is there are no easy games in the Premier League. And with teams across the league, from Chelsea to QPR bolstering their squads with top class players this old quote has never been so close to the truth. Lets have a quick look at few teams who are in with a shout of competing this year.
With R.V.P taking his leave many would have thought Arsenal’s chances would have completely diminished. However Arsene Wenger’s team still have a bit of bite about them. The Gunners invested in some world-class talent this summer with the acquisition of Santi Cazorla Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud who are sure to keep Arsenal in the running.
Chesea similarly have lost the services of a key striker in the shape of Didier Drogba. However with his exit Chelsea make way for a new way of playing. Overnight, Chelsea have evolved into a side that shall look to relentlessly pass their way through opponents and with great avail as they are yet to lose. Such change of style has been easier to achieve for Chelsea as they signed a host of technically gifted players including Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar. This new Chelsea are a threat to any team’s title chances at the moment.
To finish I’d like to mention Tottenham. Andre Villas Boas’s entry into the managerial hot seat seemed to be their most high profile acquisition this summer. However, behind the media frenzy a few classy signings were made including the signings of Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Moussa Dembele, Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson. The squad themselves remain a force to be reckoned with. With pace to burn on both the flanks from both the wingers and full backs alike I look forward to seeing whether Tottenham can achieve the feats their fan believe they are capable of by winning the title.
Of course I don’t know everything, so feel free to respond with your own reasons as to why both clubs from Manchester will struggle this season. Is it because of United’s ageing squad or City’s attitude problem? You tell me.