Premier League: United Attack Comes Up Short Against City and Now Chelsea
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While the signing of Robin Van Persie, a striker as good as any (when fit) will have buoyed the mood inside Old Trafford, there remains a potential lack in the chemistry of Manchester United's attackers when compared to rivals Manchester City and the rejuvenated Chelsea.
In David Silva, Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez, City have the best forward quartet in the league, though it is now facing youthful competition in the form of Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres.
Though United still have a plethora of options, their best offensive line of Shinji Kagawa, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney and Van Persie, while formidable, would appear to lack the same technical prowess in moving the ball around in the final third.
Kagawa's arrival will come as a relief given the need for a more natural playmaker than Rooney, but it is a signing that might have made the difference to their trophy cabinet last season, rather than this one.
It remains far too early to make any credible assumptions, but as it stands, unless United can find another way to compete—a water-tight defence or a return to genuine counter-attacking wide play—they may struggle to live with their free spending rivals.
In fairness, while their rival's purses are without a doubt larger, City and Chelsea appear to have bought more into the philosophy bench marked by Barcelona than United have. Even Madrid appear to be following suit with the impending arrival of another supreme technician in Luka Modric to intertwine chiefly with Mesut Ozil.
Quick connections in and around the box will require more than just Kagawa, unless every pass he intends to make is a through ball. Over the last two summers, however, the bulk of United's spending appears to have been at either end of the pitch rather than on what takes place in between.
Where United do have a hand up on their rivals, in England at least, is their manager. In Alex Ferguson they must trust, and to put it bluntly, they will have to...
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