Saturday, 24 December 2011
A decent stadium. A cool, calm, composed manager. A mind-boggling array of talent.
All qualities of title winning teams, and in Manchester City, a great contender for the 2011/12 crown. However, while they are still newbies in this race lasting until May, there are a couple of old guns waiting in the wings, ready to pounce, on any mistake or slip from the boys in blue.
With City beating their neighbours 6-1 on their own patch. Football fans all over the land flocked to betting shops and hastily threw their notes on them winning the title. They may well be sweating on their slips come May time when they host Warnocks Queens Park Rangers side, who may well be playing for something themselves, along with Uniteds opponents Sunderland.
Saying this, I do think Manchester City are the team to beat this year. What interests me, is what happens when they do get beaten, as sometime this season, they are almost certain to get one of those accumulator-breaking results, a frustrating 0-0 draw, or a last minute loss thanks to the backside of an opposition striker.
They were beaten by Chelsea recently in the league, but calling that a bad result, just shows the ridiculous collection of players City have, and also how wayward we are from reality after a few cheques have been signed.
Manchester United have it etched into their minds to stay in touch now, and just wait patiently behind them, waiting for this result to come. Should it come, the million pound question is, how would City respond to it?
It is easy to say the likes of Kompany, both Toures, could step up and rally the troops, but until it happens, nobody knows. With United just 2 points behind, all they have to do is sit, wait, and snatch the opportunity if it comes. What is for sure, is that unlike City, in Ryan Giggs, United have that old head that has been there, done that, got the t-shirt, more than once in fact. For me, I just dont see anyone on that pitch that could steady that ship after a couple of bad results on the pitch in the league. Maybe I am wrong. We will have to see..
Im sure people will be scorning at me for dismissing this title as a 2 horse race after 17 games. However, with Spurs being the closest team to them, I really dont think they have the squad or the know-how to survive a title race into the closing weeks of the season, they will simply just drop off with 5 or 6 games to go, if not before.
With Chelsea, you have a fabulous win at home to Man City, followed up by a draw against lowly Wigan. In Villas-Boas they have a cracking manager, and a great squad, but this year, without a record breaking run in the league, I cannot see them sitting at the same feasting table as those in Manchester come May.
Arsenal and Liverpool. With their very contrasting bank accounts over the summer, both teams are barely separable this season so far, although arguably Liverpool have come alot further after last seasons debacle under Wobbling Woy Hodgson. Even so, personally I expected them to be bigger contenders than they have been so far, and as for Arsenal fans, expectation is just as fantasy as Narnia and Santa Claus.
So for me, it is a straight shoot-out between Mancini and Ferguson. I fully expect both sides to run away from the pack, and leave a very interesting 4-way shootout for 3rd. Mancini said last week that they need 90 points for the title. I have a funny feeling it may be more than that.
What is for sure, is that everyone with half a footballing head will be tuned in for the derby on the 28th April. 36th game of the season, and it could well seal it. We're all suckers for suspense, lets just hope we get a bit more.
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