Having just witnessed Manchester United's demolition of Arsenal, two questions popped into my head. The first being how exactly does a team put eight goals past a team like Arsenal, one of the teams representing England in the Champions League.
The other being are United actually performing at their full potential? Throughout the game today, they seemed so nonchalant, so composed, so unnerved by the opposition and the threat that Arsenal would pose.
Wayne Rooney was extraordinary. Not only did his two free kicks bring back memories of a former United legend famous for his dead ball abilities, but his awareness whilst in possession in the ball, being able to pick out a killer through ball or deliver a pin point accurate long distance pass.
Ashley Young scored two fantastic curling strikes, both of which should surely be contenders for goal of the month.
Danny Welbeck continued to look promising before coming off with a hamstring problem, scoring a close range header, which really should have been dealt with by the Arsenal defence.
Admittedly, this Arsenal team is one of the weakest we have seen in years. With injury and suspension ruling out a fair few players, there was no aggression in the team; almost like they accepted the defeat like it was inevitable.
All this came after a 5-1 victory, including an inspired four goal bonanza by Edin Dzeko, put Manchester City firmly on top of the table. These are the same two teams who were battling it out for the fourth Champions League towards the end of last season.
Dzeko's first goal came via the assist of Samir Nasri, who had an outstanding debut. His second showed off his aerial ability with a sublime header. His third showed off his instincts as a striker, peeling off from his marking and making himself available for the back post tap in. His final goal was a beauty, curling the ball into the far top corner.
He looked like a completely different player from the one who struggled to make an impact since joining the team in January.
Both games are great examples of how different philosophies in the transfer market can reap equal rewards in the league.
We are all familiar with the Manchester City way of spending. The philosophy is simple. Great players will make a great team. No matter the price, you can guarantee that if City wants a player, they will splash the cash to bring him in. Though chemistry may be problem early on, once they gel, they have no reason not to reach the potential they should fulfil.
Yaya Toure set them back £24 million, Dzeko for £27 million, Aguero cost around £35 million. Last week, they gave Arsenal £25 million for winger Samir Nasri. Money isn't a problem when your owner has an estimated wealth of £20 billion. In numbers, that is £20,000,000,000. That's enough zero's to keep any manager happy.
Manchester United, on the other hand, doesn’t look for the big money deals. Though they may splash the cash every once in a while, for example, David, De Gea, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, their main way of bringing in players is through the youth and developing them. Instead of great players make a great team, the Ferguson attitude is a great team will eventually make the players great.
A review of some of the signings Fergie has made over the last two years shows his transfer policy in action. David De Gea is 20, Phil Jones is 19, and Javier Hernandez is just 23 whilst the eldest signing, Ashley Young, is 26. Oh, and Bebe is 21, but we'll let that one slide.
The average age of the Manchester United team is 23.5. That is just downright silly.
A recap of some of the players the youth team have produced over recently will show you what players Sir Alex has at his dispersal.
Players like Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley have been given first team experience on loan at other teams, so when they reach the starting 11 at United, they are not over awed. The same experience which Darron Gibson, Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans were put through before they made their first team debuts.
Many have compared this injection of youth to the early Premiership years, where the Neville Brothers, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes. That may be a stretch to compare the two but don't take anything away from the current young players, they are exceedingly good.
Despite the differences in transfer policies, the two teams do share tactical similarities. The wingers from both teams not only attack along the touchline, but are encouraged to cut inside. Both teams utilise their fullbacks in the attacking phases. Both teams have a solid, no nonsense style centre back pairing who disrupt any attacking moves.
You can look at each team’s second team, and make a case that if they decided to field two teams, both of them would be able to survive in the Premier League.
It isn't just the quality of the starting 11, it’s the intensity or drive the fresh legged substitutes can bring, almost like they are rejuvenate the whole team. Just look at the impact Ji-Sung Park brings off the bench for Manchester United, yet again scoring against Arsenal.
The same could apply for the blue half of Manchester. On City's bench today, the likes of Tevez, Milner and Johnson can all bring the same impact into a game. If the game wasn't going to plan today, either of those three players have the ability to reinvigorate the game and provide the assist or score the goal, which gets them back into the game
On paper, you could argue either team has the better players. Even though City may have the better players, United may have the better team.
Both have won every game so far.
Both are in the group stage of the Champions League.
Both have embarrassed Tottenham Hotspur with their beautiful football.
Both teams meet at Old Trafford on October 23rd.
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