Looking at their squads, I don’t think anyone could say there is a massive gulf in talent any more between Manchester United and their ‘noisy neighbours’. Some observers might even say that man for man, City have the better first eleven.
In my opinion City certainly have more strength in-depth. So why are United eight points ahead of City with a game in hand? And how did United manage to scrape yet another win yesterday against the run of play?
It would be so easy for me, as a City fan, to blame a biased referee, or perhaps the mythical ‘Fergie time’, when in fact the reality is that while the two squads are very similar in talent, there is a big difference in mentality.
The truth is that United can never be ruled out until the final whistle is blown. Can the same be said about City, however? Yesterday, at 2-1, as much as City pressed forward and created chances, in our hearts we just knew it was going to be ‘one of those days’. Did United fans fear defeat when they went 2-0 down to Blackpool? Or Aston Villa? I very much doubt it because in Alex Ferguson they have a manager with an ability to instill a special ethic and belief into his team, even if it does involve the use of the infamous ‘Hairdryer treatment’.
But where will the world’s richest club finish this season? The title has been almost decided with half the campaign still to run, but the question is: will this ‘winning when everything is going against them’ attitude be the factor that prevents City from finishing fourth yet again?
In my belief, the only team that could really put up a decent fight for fourth spot are Spurs (presuming Chelsea finally get their act together). It’s too late for Liverpool although with a full season of King Kenny at the helm things could have been different.
Tottenham are the team that go on to win the most matches after conceding first, but are also very inconsistent. They also have the distraction of the Champions League, whereas City would fancy their chances in the early rounds of the Europa League even with their second team.
Returning to the current league campaign, City are more than capable of stringing together a decent set of results, but they lack the ability to get results when everything is going against them. Spurs however, managed to scrape a win against Bolton last week in a bizarre refereeing performance.
Could Man City really do the same? Could this ‘never say die’ attitude that we seem to lack be the difference between City finishing in the Champions League places or missing out again?
By Laura Alice – Manchester City fan