5 Areas Manchester United Have Beaten Manchester City This Season
It is too soon to crown Manchester United Premier League champions.
Their 12-point lead over rivals Manchester City may be massive in the context of the season, but it is not insurmountable.
However, it would be fair to say that the Red Devils have played better football than Roberto Mancini's side this term, and are fully deserving of their standing.
The Italian boss' recent claim that United "have been really lucky with everything" just doesn't hold true (via The Mirror).
Here are five areas in which Manchester United have beaten City.
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When the going has gotten tough, and it certainly has at several points in the season, Manchester United have not shirked away from the challenge.
Sir Alex's side has claimed numerous late wins this term, most notably in their first meeting with City last year where a Robin van Persie free kick broke the hearts of the Etihad faithful.
For Manchester City, the top names have failed to deliver too often. The Blues have lost as many games as United, but lackadaisical performances have seen them draw eight times to United's two.
This is a matter of accountability. The quality in both squads is closer than United's 12-point lead suggests, but the Red Devils have turned their quality into ruthless wins far more often than their crosstown rivals have.
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One could legitimately argue that should United claim Premier League glory this season, their ability to woo Robin van Persie to the red half of Manchester was a key moment.
The Red Devils' summer spending was far more thoughtful and efficient than their rivals', the Van Persie transfer especially.
City paid close to £40 million for Javi Garcia, Matija Nastasic, Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell and Maicon, while Sir Alex spent a little under £50 million on Van Persie, Alex Buttner, Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell (via TransferMarkt.com).
With the possible exception of Nastasic, none of Roberto Mancini's signings have lived up to their price tag and could all be considered genuine flops.
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Though one could never say for sure, it is a fair perception that the Red Devils squad has been far more united than Manchester City's this season.
Roberto Mancini's January bust-up with striker Mario Balotelli made headlines across Europe, casting the City team spirit in a terrible light (via BBC).
Following a disappointing loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League last year, Mancini slammed his keeper Joe Hart in public, telling reporters he "should stay in goal and make saves" (via The Telegraph).
There has been no equivalent report emanating from Old Trafford, where the team has only seemed united in the cause of claiming domestic glory once again.
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A far more tangible area, but worthy nonetheless, Manchester United have simply scored more goals than Manchester City this season.
The Red Devils' 64 to the Blues' 50 is a big difference, one reversed from the latter's prolificacy last term.
Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez have found the back of the net with a reliable consistency, while none of Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko or Sergio Aguero have scored more than 12 in the Premier League.
Of the two sides, it's actually City who have the better defensive record, but they haven't been able to match United's goalscoring exploits at the other end of the pitch.
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Though Manchester City entered this current Premier League season as reigning champions, the Red Devils have been doing so for decades before them.
The Manchester United squad is filled with several highly decorated players. Ryan Giggs has won 12 EPL winner's medals, Paul Scholes has 10 while Rio Ferdinand has five to his name.
Even the relatively young Brazilian full-back Rafael has lifted Britain's most significant trophy twice, once more than the majority of City's best.
It has also been the experience of master-motivator Sir Alex Ferguson that has been key. Playing for the Scotsman gives a footballer a winning mentality before he even steps on the field.
In what other areas have the Red Devils trumped Manchester City this season?