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Friday, 28 October 2011

Has the tide turned in Manchester?

Sunday 23rd October 2011. This is the date that Manchester City fans will remember for the rest of their lives. The day they mauled their arch rivals Manchester United 6-1, at Old Trafford - United's heaviest defeat since 1955.

Safe trip back to London
As much as the result was impressive, many people were instead asking the question Have the sky blues taken over from their city rivals?

One look at the squads of both sides and you feel that the answer is yes. Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney  Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck are United's four main men in the striking department whereas City have numerous top class strikers to choose from in Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and until January at least, Carlos Tevez.  The City midfield has an array of talent too - Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Adam Johnson, Nigel De Jong, James Milner and Gareth Barry are the regulars that Italian gaffer Roberto Mancini tinkers with whereas United, under Sir Alex Ferguson seem to have much less of an influence in the middle of the park since the retirement of Paul Scholes.

Scholes was key to the United midfield
The central midfield options of Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Darron Gibson shows you that United certainly lack quality in that department and teams could, similarly like City and David Silva did on Sunday simply play their way through the middle of United's midfield.  There is no ball winner or Roy Keane like hardman in the middle. Anderson always flatters to deceive, Cleverley is an up and coming youngster, Carrick is not worls class, Fletcher... how has he won everything he's won? Should be playing for an average Premier League team such as QPR, Everton or everbody's second favourite team; Fulham.

At the back United, without Nemanja Vidic look extremely vulnerable.  In my view, Rio Ferdinand's best days are behind him. Its alright being rated 86 overall on Fifa 12 but in real life, sadly for Rio he is not up to the standard.  Speaking of not being up to standard I move on to Jonny Evans who seems to have been around for years but a quick look tells me the Northern Irishman is still only 23 years old. Evans always seemed dodgy to me and had another poor game for the Red Devils on Sunday with "Super Mario" Balotelli tormenting him, turning him and then getting Evans to bring him down which ultimately saw the former Sunderland loanee sent off.  As well as Evans you have two youngsters in there in Chris "Did you know he used to play for Maidstone" Smalling and Phil Jones - I do wish the commentators would stop going on about Smalling's past   I must have been told he played for a local Kent side about 2,028 times now. Jones is decent though and I feel he will be a regular England player in a year or two. Patrice Evra has also been a consistent performer over the years.

Smalling played for Maidstone dontchaknow!
Finally, the goalkeeper. David De Gea arrived with most United fans going on about just how great this bearded Spaniard is.  As far as I have seen De Gea flaps at crosses, doesn't save the easier shots and gets nutmegged a lot.  Yes, he maybe decent in the future but at this moment in time isn't that good in my opinion.  Maybe Sir Alex should give Kuszczak a go?

United can't believe their luck... Karma...
City on the other hand have a real leader in the Belgian stopper Vincent Kompany and ex-Everton player Jolean Lescott who I have to admit I have never been a massive fan of but he has had a terrific start to the season it has to be said.  At right back, Micah Richards is the man bombing forward to help City attack.  Richards should be in the England team in my view. Always seems to give his all but for some reason Capello overlooks him... having said that this is Capello we are talking about here... City also have two good left backs to choose from in Aleksander Kolarov and Gael Clichy - Both are very very attacking.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart is a reliable man to have inbetween the posts. 24 years old and still has a lot of time on his side. Excellent keeper who pulls of some top class saves but you do feel he has a mistake in him.

David Silva wheels away in delight after netting
So, on the pitch City have the advantage.

Off the pitch, money helps of course but you also need to buy the correct players. For the first time since the Sheikh factor was introduced, City seemed to play as a real "Team" on Sunday and looked brilliant.  If things aren't going well then I'm sure Mancini can sign a few decent players.  With Tevez probably on his way to the Manchester Airport Departures Lounge in January, City are likely to go out and get another forward when the transfer window re-opend. I know just the player, a young Argentine who plays in La Liga, decent prospect, quick, good brain, scores a few goals and seems to have a good attitude... thats it, Gonzalo Higuain!

United. Well, for starters they do need a central midfield hardman in there, being the Football Manager scout that I am, they could probably get someone like Roma's Danielle De Rossi fairly cheap. Another centre back and maybe another keeper should be top of Fergie's wishlist.

Has the pendulum swung in City's favour?  Yes! 6-1 is a rout no matter what team you are.  Add to the fact its against a team that are top of the league and away to your arch rivals show City mean business!

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