Man United vs. Man City: Why Red Devils Will Dominate This Season
Losing 2-1 to Queens Park Rangers, they looked unlikely to make a comeback. Fans began streaming out of the stadium in bitter disappointment.
And then in a blink of an eye Edin Dzeko drew them level before Sergio Aguero, with almost the last kick of the game, robbed the title away from the grasps of United.
Suddenly all the talk was about a passing of the torch and the building of a dynasty at the Etihad.
Nothing motivates United more than someone trying to take their position as the dominant force in England.
This season will see United come back stronger than ever and regain their position as Premier League Champions.
These are my reasons why.
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For all their talent, the main reason City won the League last season was their hunger. They wanted it more than anyone else and this want drove them on.
The great teams are able to kick on after their breakthrough. I don't think Manchester City will be one of those sides.
Manchester United, on the other hand, will have no shortage of hunger and desire.
Losing the title in such devastating circumstances to their closet rivals will be the spur they need to get them back to the top.
Add to that the desire of key men like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and maybe even Ferguson to go out on top and you have a potent mix.
Return of Nemanja Vidic
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While the record book will show that United lost the league on the last day of the season, United fans will know the damage was done two weeks earlier at home to Everton.
A frantic final 10 minutes saw us throw away a two goal lead and end up drawing 4-4.
Youthful exuberance took over and we chased a fifth goal when we should've shut up shop.
What we needed was our captain and defensive bedrock Nemanja Vidic.
He would've had the coolness and presence to calm everyone down and take the three points.
His return will give a consistency to what was erratic defense last season.
It will also be of great benefit to our young keeper David De Gea to have such a dominant aerial presence in front of him
Strength in Depth Defensively
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Despite an ongoing injury crisis at the back, United have great strength in depth defensively compared to City.
In goal United have two international class keepers in De Gea and Anders Lindegaard. Should De Gea falter United will have no problem promoting Lindegaard to the first team.
While Joe Hart is arguably the best keeper in England at present, City must be praying he stays injury free. Costil Pantilimon showed last Saturday why he has seen so little action in his time at City.
And while City would appear to be better stocked at fullback, there are huge question marks when it comes to backing up Vincent Kompany and Jolean Lescott.
At United they have the luxury of picking from 5 international centre-backs and it is a testament to this strength in depth that they dealt so well with the loss of Vidic last season.
I doubt City would deal with losing either Lescott or Kompany in similar fashion.
Should either of them suffer through injury or suspension I would question if either Kolo Toure or Stefan Savic are up to the task of replacing them.
The Multitude of Attacking Options
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Gone are the days when top teams could go out and play their style and pick up easy wins. These days you need a plan A, a plan B and even a plan C.
Of the top sides in the EPL, Manchester United would appear to have the most options in the final third of the pitch.
In Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Danny Welback and Javier Hernandez they have four strikers with different strengths who can play a number of roles.
On the wings they have Antonio Valencia who is an old-fashioned winger who will get to the byline, Nani who can play on both wings and Ashley Young who is capable of filling a number of roles.
The final piece in the jigsaw is the new Japanese signing Shinji Kagawa, who will provide a link between midfield and attack.
With such a range of options United will be able to chance positions at will from 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1 or even 4-3-3 if required.
City on the other hand lack width, and their only plan B seems to be to throw Yaya Toure forward.
The Development of Young Stars
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Much has been made of the age of United's squad and rightfully so. Players like Giggs, Scholes, Vidic, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand are all in the twilight of their careers.
But what people fail to mention is the amount of youngsters breaking into the first team.
Danny Welbeck has gone from loanee to England international in 12 months and he will have gained huge confidence over the summer.
David De Gea will now be fully settled in England and will have developed trust and rapport with his teammates.
Tom Cleverly will be fully fit and raring to go after an injury ravaged first year.
Phil Jones will have had a full year shadowing Ferdinand and Vidic which will be huge for his development.
These youngsters are the future of United but they will all play a key role this season.
Growing Pains at City
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Much has been made this summer of the fractured relationship between Man City manager Roberto Mancini and CEO Brian Marwood.
A breakdown of relations would be bad news for City and new boy Ferran Soriano may find himself having to build bridges on his arrival.
The recent injury to Sergio Aguero could persuade Khaldoon Al Mubarak to loosen the purse strings and appease Mancini.
Going forward Marwood and Mancini will need to be singing from the same hymn sheet if City are to remain at the top.
City will also have to worry about keeping such a strong squad happy, something Mancini struggled with last season.
With so many volatile characters it may be a case of when City go off the rails rather than if they go off the rails.
This is a huge contrast with the United front that has been displayed across the city at Old Trafford.
City's Focus Will Be Elsewhere
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Man City's owners have made no effort to disguise the fact that they are chasing world domination.
Winning the EPL is not enough. To be considered among the best sides in the world they will need to win the Champions League.
They will quickly learn, as Roman Abramovich did, that this is easier said than done. Competing on two fronts is a mammoth task.
I believe this season they will focus on making an impact in Europe and in doing so they will take their eyes off the ball at home.
Sir Alex Ferguson would love to win the Champions League again but knows that the first step will be to regain the EPL.