Manchester City host Chelsea on Sunday in a match that many billed at the beginning of the season as the title decider. Looking over what pundits and football writers were predicting in August it’s odd to think how many had written Manchester United off for the title.
Most went for the holders but some picked Chelsea, the team whose European Cup victory seemed to reinvigorate Roman Abramovich’s spendthrift ways. Something has gone seriously wrong when, by February, the best either side could possible hope for is second place.
If Chelsea beat City and Tottenham beat out-of-form West Ham United the following day then all three clubs will be separated by only two points. It will make for a thrilling finale to the season as they will all be frantically competing for the runners-up position but fans will want to know why their clubs have underperformed so badly this season.
The question that should be asked is how everyone could have overlooked the obvious flaws in these two teams. By winning trophies as prestigious as the Premier League and the European Cup everyone seemed to forget the extraordinary circumstances in which those trophies were won and became blind to the weaknesses in both sides.
There are a number of similarities between these two dysfunctional teams. Leo Tolstoy once wrote that happy families are all alike but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. These two football clubs seem to be unhappy in the same way.
While the main strength of both these teams comes from the financial backing they receive from their astonishingly wealthy owners, they also share many of the same weaknesses.