Premier League: Chelsea and Arsenal vs. Manchester United and Manchester City
Over the last few seasons, there has been a lot of talk about where the hub of English football is, London or Manchester.
This season more than ever, it seemed that Manchester was on course to dominate, with both Manchester clubs running away at the start of the season. This wasn't helped by both Chelsea and Arsenal being easily beaten by United and Tottenham, both of whom were easily beaten by the Manchester clubs.
Since then, Manchester United have slipped in the Premier League, were knocked out of the Carling Cup by Crystal Palace and now have failed to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League for only the third time in their history.
City, however, are still solid in the Premier League. Some would say they started United's fall from grace with a 6-1 mauling at Old Trafford, but they never got going in the Champions League.
What makes things worse for supporters of football in Manchester is that the FA Cup has given us a Manchester derby in the third round, meaning one club will have to suffer the further disappointment of being dumped out of the FA Cup at their first opportunity.
Chelsea and Arsenal, on the other hand, have gotten over their early-season slips and have started climbing their way back up the League table with Tottenham leading the charge for the London clubs. Chelsea and Arsenal also qualified for their group's top, albeit just.
Tottenham won't be too upset to be leaving the Europa League just as Manchester crashes the party—I say this realising that they're not technically out yet but instead have the same chance to get through to the next round as Lyon did tonight.
More importantly, while all three London clubs are out of the Carling Cup, all three have decent draws in the FA Cup and a decent chance of carrying on in that competition.
To be fair, both Manchester clubs may take the Europa League by storm, City may continue their dominance in both the Premier League and Carling Cup and the winner of the FA Cup's third-round Manchester Derby may go on to win the whole thing.
Manchester City are still in with a shot to claim a historic quadruple and United can still claim another triple, but Chelsea and Arsenal are still in for triples, in a more prestigious European competition, and Tottenham can walk away with a respectable double.
I'm not saying football in Manchester is in crisis because they still have a lot to play for and are in very good positions in the league. My only point is this, reports of London football's death are greatly exaggerated.
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