Although it may not seem strange to us now, but seeing Manchester’s top two clubs battle it out at the top of the Premier League hasn’t been a regular occurrence. Obviously, money has played a massive part; Manchester City’s billionaire owner has bank-rolled them straight into title-winning contention. But more than just another team entering this season’s enthralling hunt for glory, are we now seeing a shift in power? Is Manchester becoming the new London?
Manchester United have dominated large proportions of Premier League years. But discounting Blackburn Rovers’ year of glory, their only rivals have normally been from the capital. Despite going without a trophy since 2005, Arsenal always have been, and, always will be, a threat. Chelsea are the current champions – that says enough about their quality. But as United managed to carry on their unbeaten record with a draw against another rival from London; Tottenham, their real concern is the team who reside right across the city.
Whether or not you agree with the way they have muscled themselves into contention is another matter. The fact remains Man City are in with a real chance of winning the Premier League, and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will know that better than anyone. The 69-year-old Scot tries his best to talk down his ‘noisy neighbours’ but as it stands, the team sitting second in the league are the closet challengers to United reclaiming the Premier League.
So what does that say about the rest? We’ve all been impressed by Spurs this season, but realistically the chances of them actually winning the league are slim to none. Arsenal still look lightweight, whereas Chelsea don’t look half the side they were last season.
Manchester is the place to be. United welcome City to Old Trafford next month and it could be a decisive game in the race for the title. Many have the opinion that City will fail because they lack experience. As a club, yes, maybe. But individually, most of the players have been there, won the trophy and got the t-shirt.
They certainly have enough to win the league, and once they win one, it could start a spell of dominance for the Eastlands club. As long as Sir Alex is in charge, United won’t let their rivals run away with the league year after year, but other than the Red Devils, does anybody else have enough?
If Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich refuses to pump the club with money as he has previously done, they can’t expect t keep up with City or United for much longer. Arsene Wenger’s policies mean Arsenal are unlikely to invest when they probably need to, and you have to wonder how long Spurs can keep hold of the likes of Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart.
This is by no means a certainty, but the signs are there. Since its existence, Manchester has been the Premier League trophy’s home for 11 years and counting. London has been a second home, but it could be a while before we see the coveted honour return to the capital. Manchester has the money, and could have power for years to come.