Manchester United Or City? Jose Mourinho Or Pep Guardiola? Who Will Reign Supreme In Manchester?

Posted: July 21, 2016 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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Next season there will be almost as much interest in who wins the battle of Manchester as there will be in who eventually wins the Premier League. Mainly in Manchester of course, but the battle will still be watched with a certain amount of interest from all places outside of the “M” postal code area.

It is unfortunate that the teams cannot be compared in the Champion’s League due to the shortcomings of each of the previous managers, both of whom underachieved in their final season.

Louis van Gaal underachieved by so much that United haven’t even qualified for the tournament and City will have to play a pre-qualifier, (which they should win), having finished in a lowly fourth position last time out.

So, thanks to the previous incumbent, Jose Mourinho finds himself competing for the Europa League, the winning of which does grant a place in the following year’s Champion’s League, but that is probably an avenue he would prefer not to have to rely upon, as it would mean he has failed in the Premier League.

So European comparisons are out of the question, at least for next season. The opinions on the two managers will be formed from performances in the Premier League.

Last season saw little separating the two. As previously stated they both underperformed despite winning a cup, City the Capital One Cup and United the FA Cup and in the league there was only one place between them which was decided on goal difference.

This season should see a tight race between the two again but, hopefully, for the title as opposed to just a top four finish.

Up to now there has also been nothing to choose between their signings. The bigger names brought in by the two include Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mhkitaryan and Eric Bailly for United and Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito and Oleksandr Zinchenko for City. It doesn’t appear that the spending has stopped on either side with deals reportedly in the closing stages for Paul Pogba to United and John Stones to City.

So, gaining an advantage through the transfer market may be the way to go with the rest, but with each other the signings are almost cancelling each other out.

Of the other challengers Tottenham Hotspur have brought in Vincent Janssen and Victor Wanyama, Arsenal have bought Granit Xhaka, Chelsea’s new manager Antonio Conte has added N’Golo Kanté and Michy Batshuayi, Liverpool have raided their feeder club Southampton AGAIN, this time for Sadio Mané and also bought Loris Karius and Ragnar Klavan. Everton, flush with their newly invested millions and having appointed Ronald Koeman as manager, must be considered as dark horses next season. Although they have only bought Maarten Stekelenburg up to now, don’t expect that to be the end of the spending, particularly if John Stones goes to Manchester City.

Just to prevent avid readers from assuming that I think that the Premier League will be a two-horse race next season I have to say that with Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino, Jürgen Klopp and Ronald Koeman as competition it probably won’t be. I am just expressing Mancunian bias in hoping for a one-two finish.

If any loyal followers are wondering why I appear to have discounted Leicester City and Arsenal from the title race, it is because I don’t think either of them will be anywhere near winning it next season.

Leicester, unfortunately, will turn out to be a one-season wonder and will finish in the top ten relatively easily.

Arsenal, as long as Arsene Wenger is content with fourth and a good cup run, can hope for, at best, fourth and a good cup run

Having said all of that, the two Manchester clubs have outspent everybody else, mainly because they can and, if Manchester is to remain the capital of football, they need to finish first and second in the title race. If that happens then both clubs, but particularly United, will consider that they have had a successful season.

The following season should see a return to Champion’s League football for Manchester United and it is only then that we can start comparing the two sides at a European level rather than just a domestic one.

Watch this space!


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