Manchester City and Manchester United are probably the two richest clubs in the Premier League. They have the two most successful and, arguably, best managers. They have the best squads and some of the world’s most expensive players.

The only club which comes anywhere near them in these respects is Chelsea, also with great wealth, a big squad and expensive players. Their manager, however, is an unknown quantity at this level. I suppose it could be argued that Pep Guardiola is in the same situation, but he has won far more domestic honours than Antonio Conte.

All of this begs the question; how come United and City aren’t the top two in the Premier League? More to the point at present is; how come neither of them is even in the top four?

There are many theories which purport to answer these questions but none are 100% accurate. The real reasons appear to lie in the two squads which has resulted, somewhat inevitably, in a certain amount of tinkering by the two managers.

In the case of Manchester City, it was said that Pep Guardiola had no previous experience of the competitive nature of the Premier League and is struggling to get to grips with tactics and formations.

Whilst it is true that this is his first season in the Premier League it is not true to say that he hasn’t been involved in competitive leagues before. Do people really think that teams in the Bundesliga or La Liga just rolled over when they played Bayern Munich or Barcelona? The opposite is usually true, especially if we listen to Sir Alex Ferguson.

The bigger the name, the harder the opposition try to beat them. Fergie often wondered if some of the lesser teams would have tried quite so hard had they not been playing Manchester United. The same is true of Bayern and Barcelona.

The fact that they were, and still are, great teams is partly down to Guardiola. His tactics, when managing these two, were always good enough to beat the best that Britain had to offer in the Champion’s League.

What he has struggled to find is consistency. City can still be world beaters on their day, he just hasn’t found THAT day often enough this season. No doubt some more money will be thrown at the problem and, with some shrewd signings and some much needed departures, expect Pep Guardiola to start producing sooner rather than later.

They are still in the running for the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Champion’s League, so it is not all doom and gloom in East Manchester.

The problem across the city goes a little deeper in that, like Guardiola, José Mourinho inherited a squad containing a mixture of ageing players, players who were no longer good enough and players who were never good enough. The difference was that Mourinho replaced a manager who had not been successful. (True United fans do not consider one FA Cup in four years as a major trophy haul!).

Louis van Gaal had replaced a manager who was even less successful and who thought that Maroune Fellaini was of sufficient quality to play for Manchester United. So the problems at Old Trafford were more deep lying than those at the Etihad and they had had four years to fester.

Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey seems to be the way of Mourinho and it is now starting to produce results. Manchester United have been on a long unbeaten run and there are still improvements to be made although possibly not in this January transfer window. Summer seems to be the most likely time for business.

Signing the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Bernardo Silva will improve the squad and next season should see a more concerted challenge from the two teams.

This season they are proving that having the most and the best is not necessarily going to provide success although, to be fair, we at WSA don’t expect either of them to finish the season empty handed.

  1. Hilarion says:

    Manchester United will win three trophies this season europa, fa, efl cup


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